Local plastic surgeon is our Person of the Week for transforming lives in Kenya

Dr. Charles Boyd uses hands to save lives
Posted: 10:02 AM, Jul 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-01 13:39:53-04

Plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry. Women and men flock to surgeons hoping to look younger.

But Dr. Charles Boyd who owns Boyd Cosmetics in Birmingham uses his skilled hands for so much more.

Dr. Boyd has been fortunate, as a graduate of Harvard's Medical School and the University of Michigan's School of Business, his parents taught him as a young man career accolades and money are not what's most important. Instead, it’s about trying to give back and helping others, his motto: "the more you give, the more you receive."

Since 2001, Dr. Boyd and a team of doctors have traveled to Kenya for two weeks in the summer to do free surgeries for children and adults with cleft lips and palates and to transform lives.

Their team averages 100 cleft lips and cleft palates. They do operations over eight or nine days and there are about four or five surgeons. They operate in a rural area where children born with these facial deformities are considered cursed.

Dr. Boyd says when you look at it, it is very debilitating both physically and nutritionally because it's a hole in the lip and the roof of the mouth as well.

The average family only makes $100 a year and this surgery would cost $300, so the surgery would be nearly impossible.

A lot of the children can't afford it, parents can't afford it, and in some of the remote areas, it is seen as bad luck.

So, if a child is born with a cleft, the village may see that child as bad luck and may want the mother to get rid of the child.

Dr. Boyd believes a willingness to help others should be passed to the next generation. Three of his daughters have made the trip to Kenya, and this summer, his other two will do the same. He knows the trip will be an eye opener.

And while these surgeries are not about making anyone look younger, it's a million dollar makeover just the same.

Dr. Boyd says the trip is not just for people in the medical field, they accept volunteers without a medical background as well.

He says for him, words alone cannot describe the feeling he gets from transforming lives.