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Operation Smile

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Post by Ponee on Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:20 am

With or without an RV, we are still more fortunate than others and we can be a blessing


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Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe. See how we work


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Post by Ponee on Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:29 am

June 12, 2014
From the Philippines: Loraine's story

Susanne Edmark

Update from Cebu!

Screening was a huge success. In the first mission ever at Adventist Hospital in Cebu City, our volunteers worked diligently to screen 267 patients. Through two days of surgery, our team has already provided 81 surgeries. So many new smiles and new lives — I’m overwhelmed with joy!

 Operation Smile  Lorraine

I’ve been fortunate to follow one particular patient — a precious little girl named Loraine — and her family throughout the medial mission, and can tell you that each day has been a rollercoaster of emotion.

I met 5-year-old Loraine and her family on Bantayan Island, northwest of Cebu, several days prior to the medical mission. Loraine, who had a noticeable cleft lip, seemed shy yet offered me a smile when I said hello. I knew I had to learn more about this little girl. As I began to ask more questions, I was deeply touched by this family’s story. Rolando, Loraine’s father, works nearly 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, at a poultry farm where he earns the equivalent of $100 a month — barely enough to provide adequate food and necessities for the family. Arlyn, Rolando’s wife, stays at home to care for the family’s two children.

When Loraine was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, her family was overcome with grief. They knew that her lip and palate were repairable — Lorraine’s father, Rolando, lived with a cleft lip until he was 11-years-old and got surgery. His cleft palate was never fixed, however, and he continues to struggle with being understood, due to the cleft palate affecting his speech. The family knew first-hand of the struggles she would face growing up, and wanted nothing more than a normal life for their child — but they knew they couldn’t afford surgery to fix her deformity.

Arlyn told me that Loraine has just recently started to notice how different she is from other children. When she has ventured outside of her home and attempted to play with other children, they tease her, call her names — even calling her "bungi," which means cleft lip. She recently came home crying asking her mother, "Why I am so different? Why am I like this?"

 Operation Smile  Lorraine1

Now Loraine spends the majority of her time at home, playing around the house — her parents have decided not to let her go to pre-school, fearful that the other children will bully her. When Arlyn heard of the Operation Smile medical mission in Cebu, she was overwhelmed with joy and anxiety. She knew this could be the only opportunity she would have to get her child help.

On Saturday the family and I took a bus and a ferry to the island of Cebu and arrived at the hospital where Operation Smile held the screenings. Arlyn was visibly nervous — fearful that her child wouldn’t be selected for the surgery that she knew would change her life forever.

But when we arrived at screening, Loraine herself seemed very confident — seeing so many other children that look like her made her feel comfortable. She's been making friends, laughing, and playing with others, while waiting to be screened for surgery. Here are a few photos of Loraine at home and during screening!

Loraine was one of the first children approved for surgery, and her mother was overjoyed to see her daughter when she woke up after the operation. Loraine was given a mirror to see her new smile, too — but she didn't want to look, pushing away the mirror instead. Arlyn explained that because of her lip, Loraine is still too shy to look at herself in the mirror. It will take some time for Loraine to adjust, but Arlyn is happy, and as she packed the family's belongings to return home, she told me in excitement that now Loraine will be able to attend school and live a normal life. Her daughter now has a promising future to go along with her bright, beautiful new smile. See more photos of Loraine and her family's journey here.

I can’t tell you how touched I am to be able to experience this journey for so many children and their families. I’ll continue to share stories and photos as they come in!
All the best,

Susanne Edmark, Operation Smile


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Post by Kevind53 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:43 am

They are a great organization. I have a couple of relatives who volunteer with them on a regular basis.

Trust but Verify --- R Reagan Suspect

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."1 Thessalonians 5:14–18

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