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Danila's Story

Danila: A bright spirit, a bright smile

More than 400 children and their families gathered at the Infantil Albert Sabin Hospital in Fortaleza, Brazil. Danila, a 5-year-old, had come with her mother to get the gap in her lip fixed. They had traveled for miles, for hours, through arid fields and down dirt roads from their little village of Senador Pompeu.

Danila’s cousin, who had moved to the big city of Fortaleza, learned about the Operation Smile mission from a friend who worked at the hospital. Danila, the youngest of 10 brothers and sisters, had thrived in the love and support of her large family, but she didn’t have many friends because of the “funny thing” on her face. She was ridiculed and made to feel ugly and unwanted because of her facial deformity. It was heartbreaking for her parents.

Now after her successful surgery, Danila can’t stop smiling. She is a beautiful, loving child, who does well in school, takes care of her chores and giggles with her many friends just like any other little girl. Her mother has seen a remarkable change in her daughter's personality as a result of her surgery.

“I am very happy to see my daughter smiling all the time. She is doing so well. She has many friends, many new ones, that come to our house all the time to play with Danila.”