September 9, 2014
Regan Ferrell, Program Coordinator
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Three-year-old Sun Hao’s family knew Operation Smile was in Ziyang, China, did not bring him to our screening day because they thought they would have to pay for their son’s cleft lip surgery, which was something the family simply could not afford.
It wasn’t until our team ate dinner at a family friend’s restaurant that their assumption about our medical mission was corrected. The restaurant owner told the family that Operation Smile provides free surgeries to children born with cleft lip and cleft palate.
Overjoyed, Sun Hao’s family brought him to the hospital the next morning. Sun Hao’s grandmother, a petite lady, marched into the ward, braids swinging, with Sun Hao in tow. The toddler with bright eyes, chubby cheeks, and a smile that wouldn’t stay away for long was easy to fall in love with.
Every station during his medical screening process proved him to be a perfect candidate for a primary lip repair. Our only problem was that we already had a full schedule since Sun Hao arrived after our surgeries had already started.
When our medical records volunteer, Michael, brought Sun Hao’s chart to our clinical coordinator, I waited with baited breath.
She said yes! Sun Hao was put on the schedule instead. This morning, Sun Hao cheerfully walks in the hallway of the post-operative ward with his grandmother, ready to return to normal life with his new smile.
Tags: Our Blog, From the Field, Our Team, Patient Stories, Asia