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Monica Wihongi's Story

Close To My Heart CCO experiences a medical mission

By Monica Wihongi

CCO Close to My Heart

Last year, I participated in an Operation Smile medical mission that changed many lives, including my own. It was a last-second opportunity that required my colleagues and me to rearrange some plans, but I am incredibly grateful that we did.

I had no idea just how uplifting this mission would be. I watched the Operation Smile team turn heartbreak into joy. I was amazed by the love of these families, some of whom traveled as far as 100 miles to give their child the opportunity to have a surgery.

Though at first I felt overwhelmed by the needs of those I encountered, I knew that my role was to be a comforting presence, reassuring the children and their families that everything would be okay. I felt blessed that, thanks to my Mexican father, I was able to speak their language and understand their culture, which helped me to serve them more completely.

I was grateful to meet so many children and their families. One young girl I met was Daisy. She received surgery during a 2010 medical mission. Seeing a photo of her before the surgery and then her beautiful face in person helped me realize what a remarkable difference these surgeries make for these children.

It also moved me to see volunteers from all over the world going to such lengths to help children like Daisy. Among the volunteers were surgeons from Italy, Canada, and Mexico. These talented individuals took time away from their own practices to donate their skills to the medical mission. I love this quote from Operation Smile co-founder and CEO, Dr. Bill Magee: "Love, by definition, is self-sacrifice. Love is a decision to make someone else’s problem your own." That is exactly what I saw these wonderful volunteers doing.

I also had the privilege to serve alongside Kathy Magee, Co-Founder and President of Operation Smile. Kathy is truly an inspired person. What she and Dr. Magee have created is truly changing the world, and I am so grateful that Close To My Heart is able to partner with Operation Smile.

I hope all of us can help Operation Smile as they continue to help these children and their families. It only takes about $240 USD to perform a single surgery, and each one gives new life to a precious child. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference! To quote Dr. Bill Magee again: "These children may never know your name, but they will never forget your kindness."


Led by founder and CEO Jeanette Lynton, Close To My Heart offers a wide array of papercrafting products, with special emphasis on scrapbooking and stamping. For more than 30 years, Jeanette has been a leader in the industry, making many significant contributions to these arts, and making Close To My Heart a premier resource for individuals wishing to enhance their artistic talents and pursue a successful business opportunity. All of Close To My Heart’s Independent Consultants enjoy a generous compensation plan, which rewards them for promoting our innovative and beautiful products to help every crafter celebrate relationships, share memories, and preserve the moments that matter most.