For four years, Dr. Williams has been using a surgical technique he developed to create more beauty in the lips of bilateral cleft lip patients. He presented details about the technique at the American Cleft Palate Association’s 68th Annual Scientifi c Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 4-9. “The presentation was well-received, and afterward a number of surgeons were interested in implementing the technique,” reports Dr. Williams. “I owe a lot to ICSF and its supporters, too,” he adds.
Due to very good continued donor support to ICSF, two new team missions were carried out in April (Hai Phong, Vietnam Children’s Hospital) and in May (Cebu, Philippines Children’s Sanitorium). This brings the total of locations where ICSF serves team missions to seven.
“A record number of surgeries is being made possible by our donors. We had expected to see donations decrease during the economic downturn, but this has not been the case,” re- ports ICSF President Dr. Geoff Williams. “I don’t know how we could be this fortunate in these hard times—but we are. I hope God pours out many blessings upon our good supporters for the help they are making possible around the world,” says Dr. Williams.
The ICSF medical team in January’s Kabankalan, Philippines, mission witnessed what is probably a record for blown kisses in a twenty-four-hour period. (To clarify, a “blown” kiss is not referring, in this circumstance, to botching a kiss, but rather to the act of placing a kiss on one’s hand and then blowing it toward another individual at a distance).
A number of ICSF’s supporters were particularly touched by the article in our last newsletter about little Esther, a severely burned baby who was treated during ICSF’s October mission to Kenya. Esther healed well from her skin grafting and will be visited by Dr. Williams in his annual October trip to Kenya.
In addition to surgical missions to Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico, ICSF
served its first team mission to Kenya in the fourth quarter of
2010. An ICSF team composed of American, Filipino, and Kenyan doctors
and nurses treated children who had a variety of conditions, including
cleft lips and palates, acute burns, and congenital webbing of the
arms, during ICSF’s first team mission to the poorest region of Kenya,
Neil Jaraczek, special education teacher at Borah High School in
Boise, Idaho, heard about ICSF and had the idea that fundraising to
help ICSF treat children in poor countries would be both fun and
therapeutic for his special ed students. He was right!
“These poor folks don’t care, Geoff...you don’t have to make them
look perfect!” The date was late February 2006. I had been invited to
join a large volunteer team to perform cleft operations in the
Philippines. The senior surgeon continued, “These poor folks are just
glad to have the hole closed — they really don’t care if it doesn’t
look perfect.” I listened quietly as I continued to work on
nine-year-old Jenny’s bilateral cleft lip. I had been operating for
more than three hours and obviously had drawn the attention of the
group’s leadership. It was late — at least for the team I was with at
the time — past 5 p.m. On the first day of the mission, in a meeting,
the group’s leader had announced that our goal was to be out of the
hospital by 4 p.m. every day so that we could make it to the beach for
a few hours of R&R.