Valley doctor to take life-changing trip to Peru

After an hours-long plane ride and bus trip through the Andes, Dr. James Foltz will start operating in the mountains of Peru.

"It's a tremendous experience," he said. "People are very, very grateful."

It's something he's been doing with Phoenix-based non-profit Esperanca for 16 years. Esperanca is an organization that focuses on world health care projects, like sanitation and food security. They also organize surgical missions.

This will be Dr. Foltz's 18th mission. His other trips changed hundreds of lives in Nicaragua.

"I've had patients come back and see me on subsequent trips to thank me," he said. "All sorts of stories like that. Families who come back to see us, cause we have been going to Nicaragua, for instance, the same location for 10 years so I know the local people there."

He'll be performing surgeries with the team he's bringing along, an anesthesiologist and scrub nurse. They're fixing problems, that in some cases, women have been living with for years.

"Organ pro-lapse, and other things from having a number of babies," Dr. Foltz said. "We see tumors. We usually don't do cancer there because the facilities are not equipped, but we do benign tumors."

He'll be leaving on Saturday and coming back the next week, and then taking another trip to Nicaragua in February.

"It's just... just like what we got into medicine for originally," he said. "It's very rewarding.

More information on Esperanca: