Supporters of our Unite for Smiles campaign from early summer raised $25,000 for our Unity Initiative! So far, these funds have enabled 16 children in China to have cleft lip or palate surgeries at Gansu Provincial Hospital. These children are from rural families unable to afford the cost of cleft repair surgery on their own. Another eight children are scheduled to have their cleft lips and palates repaired later this fall.
All 16 children who had repairs are precious and have incredible stories of resilience and hope — and we wish we could share each and every story with you! But in the interest of space, today we’re featuring 3 boys whose lives were changed this summer thanks to our Unite for Smiles campaign.
Unite for Smiles: Diego’s Cleft Lip Repair
Eight-month-old Diego (above) had cleft lip surgery in August. His parents and grandparents are farmers with little or no education, so they work as laborers to support the family. Diego’s young father found a job as a cook at a noodle restaurant, but his income is not enough to provide the medical care that his son needs.
Following his cleft lip surgery, Diego was a happy and quiet baby in the hospital.
His parents carefully cleaned his wound and fed him with a spoon. They were very grateful for LWB’s help with Diego’s lip repair, and he’s already on the schedule for palate surgery at the end of the year.
Unite for Smiles: Quinlan’s Cleft Lip Repair
Quinlan, also eight months old, had his cleft lip repair in August.
Quinlan is the treasured baby of a large family. He has three doting older sisters, and they all live together with both sets of grandparents.
The family has a small plot of farmland where they grow enough food for their family but not enough to sell. Quinlan’s father is a delivery driver in the city and the main provider for the family.
In the hospital, Quinlan slept well and was happily eating formula, rice congee and rice cereal after surgery.
This sweet boy is a good little eater and spoiled from all the affection he gets from his big sisters!
Baby Chad lives with both sets of grandparents and parents. Although they are farmers with a small plot of land, the environment makes it difficult to grow crops successfully. Chad’s father helps provide for the family through temporary labor jobs at construction sites.
When the family learned from a neonatal screening that their baby boy would have cleft palate, they were very worried and unsure of how they could afford his necessary surgery. The hospital told them about LWB’s Unity Initiative, and they were grateful when Chad was accepted into our program.
Chad’s family applied for our assistance with his cleft palate surgery in May. However, he needed to meet the minimum weight requirement first, something that can be a challenge for cleft-affected children since the opening in the roof of their mouth makes it difficult to breathe, swallow, and suck while feeding. Thankfully, Chad’s parents and grandparents worked to get lots of nourishment into their precious boy. Look at his lovely double-chin in these photos!
Now nine months old, Chad was able to have his cleft palate surgery. When our coordinator visited Chad in the hospital he found a very happy, smiley baby despite the discomfort that can come from recovering from palate surgery. He clearly likes to play with his grandfather (seen in the above photo), but only his beloved grandmother could feed him or put him to bed.
Chad’s palate surgery went well and he was discharged one week later.
What a joy to see these children’s lives changed because of the generosity of our Unite for Smiles sponsors! Eight additional children are all lined up for surgery this fall – covered by the Unite for Smiles campaign. We’re so grateful that our supporters believe so strongly in our work helping children from impoverished families in China obtain life-changing medical care. Truly, every child counts!
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