After going through a terrifying thyroid cancer surgery in December 2012 and being declared free of the disease, Brooke Burke-Charvet is vowing to live each day to the fullest with her husband David Charvet and their children, daughters Neriah, Sierra and Rain and son Shaya. To kick off her family's summer vacation, the Los Angeles-based Dancing With the Stars host decided to make good on a years' long promise to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico on a goodwill medical mission with Operation Smile, bringing her husband, Neriah, 13, and Rain, 6, along.
Working with Operation Smile -- which provides free surgeries to repair children's facial deformities worldwide -- Burke-Charvet and her family helped screen patients seeking surgery.
"We went to the hospital and it was unbelievable," Burke-Charvet, 41, recounted to Us Weekly during a June 20 interview promoting her partnership with Smartfood and their efforts to celebrate healthy eating and living well.
"It's really hard to teach [kids] community service and philanthropy. So to go and show [my daughters] and engage in the whole process . . . was an amazing experience. It's hard to find worthy words," says Burke-Charvet.
"At first, the kids were like, 'Really, Mom? We're going to a hospital in Mexico?' But I was trying to teach them the meaning of it and it was life changing for all of us." The DWTS host says her daughter Rain was especially moved by the experience.
"She said, 'Mommy, those kids are just like us, they just look a little bit different. I don't want anyone to be mean to them,'" Burke-Charvet recounted to Us of Rain's view on the patients in Guadalajara. "It's a tough message but it was very meaningful."