Patient Stories

Devoted to Their Daughter
Madagascar

Elisa's parents, Sidonie and Jean, stopped at nothing to make sure she received safe cleft surgery from Operation Smile.


A Father's Promise Fulfilled

Today, Antonia, her father and sister laugh and enjoy the time with one another as they reminisce about the past. In precious moments like these, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a time when there wasn’t much that made Antonia smile. However, that time was 11 years ago, before her cleft lip was repaired by Operation Smile Brazil.


After 34 years, Moroccan man receives surgery
Morocco

Abdellah works in a port, loading packing containers. Though he has a steady job, he has never had the means for surgery to repair his cleft lip, nor did he know a solution was available.


On a mission to spread smiles
Philippines

From the moment Niño entered the hospital, he let his personality shine through the language barrier as he connected with the medical volunteers. He even helped the other children laugh, easing their nerves around being in a new place and fears of surgery.


In Paraguay, an ultrasound raises alarm
Paraguay

During a routine ultrasound in her final trimester of pregnancy, Karen discovered that her baby would be born with a facial deformity.


In Rwanda, a mother's quest to help her son
Rwanda

Alejandro was born with a cleft lip. When her son’s father learned of his birth defect, he refused to accept or even see the newborn. The clinic where Judith gave birth told her it was possible to repair Alejandro’s lip with surgery, but she would need to take care of her son and make sure he was feeding properly and gaining healthy weight.


Philippines

Eden Rose and Eugene’s excitement at the birth of their first child turned to despair when their daughter, Jinden Juriz, was born with a cleft lip. Both parents had seen people with cleft conditions through their work in the fish industry in Negros Occidental, Philippines, but never imagined that it would happen to their child.


Ethiopia

A young mother sat patiently on a bench with a sadness overwhelming her face. She wore a white shawl and covered her baby with a blanket so no one could see the baby’s face. She was waiting for her baby's medical evaluation at the Operation Smile medical program in Jimma, Ethiopia.


Starving for Food, Starving for Attention
Honduras

Esdras Mendoza looked like a newborn at just 4.9 kilograms, or about 10 pounds. I locked eyes with him in passing and instantly fell in love. It wasn’t until later that I learned Esdras was not in fact an infant. He is 6 months old and severely malnourished.


A New Family Across the Atlantic
Ghana

I was on my first medical mission with Operation Smile as a student volunteer. My task was to educate families on these things I saw as second nature.


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“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President