The 2015 Cleft Exchange was a busy and exhausting week for many. However, it remains one of our favorite weeks of the year because so many lives are dramatically changed. The Exchange requires so many people to be working together – from the American and Chinese medical team, to our donors, to our support volunteers in China, to the volunteers back home who are keeping sponsors updated. Everyone works together, and at the end of the week, we look back and say, "Wow! Thirty-three children’s lives were changed!"
Fourteen of those children were a part of our Unity Initiative Program which means that they having loving families who care for them, but who cannot afford their child’s medical care. You may have seen photos of Samuel, the five year old boy from a very rural and mountainous area of Tibet. He, his father and his uncle made the long journey to Kaifeng to have this chance for Samuel – a chance they never thought he’d have. They were so thankful and realized that this surgery would so drastically change their son’s future, that they even changed his name.
Samuel was able to have both lip and palate surgery last month. Sponsors also gave generously to purchase Samuel’s family some yaks, helping to provide nourishment and income for the six of them for years to come. A whole family was changed, thanks to you.Samuel
Billy and Delia were two more children from an orphanage in Shandong province who had waited a long time for their surgeries. Billy, at age six, is wise beyond his years and aware of the stares and gasps that people make when they see his face. Delia, at four, had heart surgery when she was young but still had a wide open cleft lip, making it difficult for her to talk and eat. Our talented surgeons gave both these children wonderful repairs. For Billy, this was the first of several surgeries that he will need down the road, but it is one that should give him a much more normal appearance. The day after surgery, Billy was already amazed that food didn’t fall out of his mouth when he was trying to eat. And this sweet boy announced upon his good friend’s arrival out of the recovery room that Delia was a pretty girl! Yes she is, and Billy has a heart of gold. Two more precious lives changed.
We fell in love with many more little ones. There was adorable Ozzy who quickly gained enough weight in the last two months to have his cleft lip surgery.
And social Caleb, who stole the heart of Dr. Liu and many.
And Leora, who now has the nose of a “princess.”
Peter and Cindy
And Peter, the boy with whom our Medical Director, Cindy, fell in love.
Thank you for partnering with us to provide craniofacial surgery to 33 adorable children last month!