As the saying goes, you never know the value of what you have until you lose it. I came to believe this ever so poignantly when I was, without warning, notified of my mother’s unexpected death in July of 2016, while I was away on a cleft palate mission in Pakistan.
The ICSF surgical team, after completing a long day of surgeries, had left the OR to check our pre- and post-operative patients in the hospital ward. We had barely entered the ward when an unusual sight caught my eye at my immediate left.
August through December, three locations in the Philippines and one in Bolivia were recipients of ICSF’s efforts to provide free treatment for facial deformities to poor children in developing countries—at the same level of care that American children receive.
This Holiday season, give the gift that lasts a lifetime. Give the Gift of a Smile….to a poor child suffering from a facial deformity in a poor country. ICSF can provide a life-changing surgery for a poor child for only $290. Give the gift that lasts a lifetime, the Gift of a Smile!!!
No expense or effort is too much when it’s the welfare of your child—is what Michelle’s parents were thinking as they boarded the overnight boat trip to the island of Palawan, Philippines, on August 10 of this year.
Having been on several ICSF missions, here’s what I, as a volunteer, have seen. The first day is when everyone who has learned about the mission comes to the hosting medical facility, hoping to have their child selected for surgery that will change their life.
In a heartbeat I knew how to respond to the pleading email. A nonsurgical medical group had recently completed a mission to the highlands of Ecuador. One of the mission’s volunteers had just emailed me about a baby born with a cleft lip that had been brought to the mission but could not be treated because of the surgical nature of her problem. After telling me a little bit about nine-month-old Jessica and her bilateral cleft lip, the volunteer pleaded: “Do you have teams that work in Ecuador?”
Fifty-three children in the Philippines and Vietnam received free surgery by ICSF in August. Also, roughly eighty hours of one-on-one training to local health professionals was rendered, further enabling local doctors to treat their own patients.