Generosity, gratitude and a dog named Chico

Jen was born legally blind and has undergone almost 40 different surgeries throughout her life, including five brain surgeries and more than 35 reconstructive oral surgeries.  But despite the challenges she has faced, she remains upbeat and is determined to share her positive energy with others. Today she is doing just that as the new author of a children’s book, Chico's First Trip to the Dentist aimed at helping educate children.

Photo of Dr. David Psutka and Jen
 Dr. David Psutka and Jen

“It was important to me to help kids who might also face these kinds of challenges in life,” says Jen. “I’ve seen children go through the types of medical procedures I have and it can be scary.”

Jen’s story began in her early 20s when doctors found cysts in her jaw. She was diagnosed with Gorlin-Goltz Syndrome, a rare condition which can involve multiple body systems such as the bones, skin and eyes. For Jen, the condition was primarily located in the cysts along her jaw. After consulting with her local surgeon, she was referred to Mount Sinai Hospital to see Dr. David Psutka, a leading oral surgeon in Canada.

“I really can’t say enough about Dr. Psutka and his team and how great they have been. It can be overwhelming to prepare for such a lengthy surgery, but they are with you the whole way, even walking with you to the operating room. They are the last people you see before the surgery and the first when you are awake. It makes such a difference to know they are there.”

Today, Jen is planning her second book outlining Chico’s first visit to the hospital. She continues to support the Hospital through proceeds from the sale of her book at the Indigo book store in the Mount Sinai lobby until March 21. She is grateful for Dr. Psutka and his team for all they have done.

To learn more about Jen’s books, please visit:

(Please note, if all available copies of Chico's First Trip to the Dentist are sold before March 21, Indigo will continue to provide copies, with proceeds supporting Mount Sinai).

About the Author

Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation

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