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Cleft surgery to bring back a child’s smile

By: Jessa Mae O. Sotto February 15,2018 - 09:31 PM

Parents urged to bring kids for assessment for next year’s Operation Smile mission

Nicole, 5, was born with facial deformities. She cannot speak clearly the way other children of her age can.

The doctor said she has a cranium facial cleft, a rare condition which only happens to one in every 500 cleft children.

Her mother, Rheaclyn, 24, described her as a sweet and happy child.

However, it saddened her to see Nicole being bullied by her neighbors because of her facial defect.

Nicole is the eldest of two siblings.

“I-bully siya sa ubang mga bata. Siya na lang usa magduwa (Other children would bully her, leaving her to play alone),” she said.

Rheaclyn is a plain housewife, while her husband works in a vulcanizing shop.

Rheaclyn admitted to having a family history of similar birth defects on her father side.

With the free cleft surgery that will be given by the Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung (MSY) Charitable Foundation Inc., in partnership with Operation Smile, Nicole has now a reason to smile.

Plastic surgeon Richard Lewandowski will perform the surgery on Nicole in Brisbane, Australia this year.

“Malipayon ko kay mausab na ang akong anak labi na sa panan-aw sa ubang mga tawo (I am happy that my daughter will look good especially in the eyes of other people),” Rheaclyn said.

MSY Executive Director Monette Aliño said that for the past 20 years, the foundation has already transformed the lives of more than 5,000 children with clefts from the Visayas and Mindanao.

“We will accept anybody as long as he or she is qualified,” she said.

Aliño said the surgery is safe and will be done by experts.

“I encourage the people to take the risk and get out of their comfort zone,” said Dr. William Magee, founder of Operation Smile.

Meanwhile, a press conference was held on Wednesday for next year’s Operation Smile.

Aliño said that for next year’s medical mission, they are targeting to benefit at least 120 children.

Aliño encouraged the parents to bring their children for an assessment in their office located at the 12th floor, MSY Tower, Pescadores Road Cebu Business Park, Cebu City, or they may call at 231-0961.

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TAGS: smile, surgery

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