$825 Grant Sponsors 3 Cleft Surgeries for Children in Davao City, Philippines
Organization: Free To Smile
Approved Grant (through donor advised fund): $825
Designation: Funds used to sponsor 3 patients for their cleft repair procedures
Project Photos and Write-ups Provided by Free To Smile:
JB, boy, 5-6 yrs old, Cleft Lip Surgery:
JB is the second of four siblings and we had a chance to interview his mother, Jelie, before he went in for surgery:
“When JB was born, I received what God gave me. There were three of us in the family that had babies in July of 2012, and all three babies had cleft lips…Since then, JB’s two cousins have had surgery [to repair their cleft lips].”
Jelie’s love and pride shone as she continued: “He never fights with his siblings, he loves them all. He plays nonstop, he never gets tired of playing. He’s always hungry too! He’s very active at school, but his teachers are very impressed with him. He always answers their questions, and likes to read and write. The kids at school never bully him, his teachers have told the other kids not to bother him, and they obey. He has a lot of friends!”
JB’s confidence and energy were apparent to us, too. When we asked if he was going to be even more handsome after surgery, he nodded enthusiastically. He had a huge grin as he entered the operating room. While JB was asleep, Dr. Auzins snipped and stitched for nearly two hours. A couple days later, still in recovery, the grin was a little smaller and the energy level lower, but JB is still one happy guy! Most kids can’t smile for a few days after surgery, but he still managed to get a small one out for us, our Mr. Happy just couldn’t help himself! He’ll head back to the hospital on about a week for a follow-up with an in-house pediatrician.
Ramon has already had one surgery to fix his cleft lip a few months ago, but had to come back for the second surgery to close his cleft palate and remove a nose that erupted through the nostril. Ramon’s mom, Jeannie says, “He moves non-stop! He always likes to play and is really friendly! My favorite thing about him is that he’s very affectionate.” Ramon babbles and tries to join our conversation. Being the only child, he likes to be the center of attention and you will become best friends if you play basketball with him. “We’re happy to have his cleft lip taken care of at such a young age! I am nervous this time around for his cleft palate surgery,” Jeannie adds.
“We are trying to use all of his energy so he can get a good night sleep,” says Jeannie. That said, Ramon has been in the playroom with a ball in his hand, passing it to anybody who wants to play with him. But, that wasn’t enough to use up all his energy. He acted like a bouncing ball when he got into the ward, playing and babbling with his visitors.
After a slight complication putting him under anesthesia, Dr. auzins was able to pull his tooth and complete the cleft palate surgery. Ramon bounced back right away and recovered smoothly. We loved seeing his parents’ love as Jeannie and Ram took care of Ramon during their time at the hospital. We’re sad to say goodbye to them so soon!
Khane, Boy, 1 year old, Cleft lip Surgery:
“Khane is a very good boy. Although he can’t really walk yet, he is still active for a toddler and really friendly,” says Khane’s mom, Jialyn.
Khane’s friendly character is proven true when he tries to talk and babble his “baby talk” to the staff. When the camera is out, he doesn’t hesitate to pause and smile, and then he proceeds with his own way of communicating.
“I was nervous when I saw Khane after he was born with cleft lip. I couldn’t accept it, but my midwife told me that he will be okay and there will be a lot of help out there. I just never knew where the help was until we ran into a local hospital who told us that we will get a call back for surgery. Months of waiting, we still hadn’t heard from them. Then, a local government worker informed us through my neighbor that there will be a free clinic at the CURE hospital,” shared Jialyn.
“I have big dreams for Khane, but I hope that people will stop bullying him for his disability once his lip has been repaired,” said Jialyn. “I’m really happy that he’s having surgery at a young age,” adds Jialyn.
Khane’s turn to go down into the OR finally came. Dr. Norman intricately stitched his lip together, which led Khane to the recovery room a few hours later. Without any complications, Khane slept well throughout the night. Seeing him in the ward, playing with bubbles, was a huge sign that he’s feeling better!