Smile China Mission 2005
It may only be a cleft repair, but it restores a child's life.
It may only be a smile, but it's one filled with hope and dignity.
Update - January 2006
Smile China thanks you very kindly for your donation in 2005. The money you so generously offered helped Dr. Joseph Wong and his medical team give the gift of a smile back to 62 children in the poor, remote city of Shangrao, China. The change in the self-esteem and self-confidence of a child who has had a facial deformity repaired is immeasurable. We hope this update will offer a glimpse into the success of this mission, and how your donation has helped to change a life.
The 2005 Medical Team
It's so hard to believe that the team has grown from only 3 members for the first mission in 2001 to the 14 members that travelled to Shangrao in 2005.
There were 7 other doctors by Dr. Wong's side on the 2005 mission; world-renowned physicians from both the United States and Canada. Accompanying the doctors were 4 nurses from Mississauga's own Credit Valley Hospital, and 2 video-photographers to capture all the special moments. The team worked tirelessly for 5 days working at 4 operatories in 3 operating rooms.
The Mission - Shangrao, China
Between November 26 to December 10, 2005, our Medical Team travelled to Shangrao, Jiangxi Province, which is a very remote, poor area of China.
The Patients (Helping)
The patients came from the rural areas surrounding Shangrao - the later arrivals among the poorest as they heard the news of the mission latest. The team had to stop the registry at 139, with many turned away. The initial plan was to help approximately 55 children, but the team ended up restoring the smile for 62 children; 63 procedures of cleft lip, cleft palate, and cleft lip-palate repairs. The age of the children ranged from 10 weeks to 14 years old.
The Local Physicians (Teaching)
The Shangrao City Hospital had a small surgery department with 5-6 doctors observing the team. An evening lecture series was well attended by about 100 doctors from all hospitals of the region. Smile China also co-hosted a 2 day meeting representing the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies (IFFPSS) with the Asian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery in Shanghai. The Academy generously paid for all the expenses of the Smile China team during their stay and the meeting was well attended by over 150 facial plastic/plastic surgeons from all over China. It helped the Chinese surgeons to enter the global village of plastic surgery and paved the way for a much larger meeting in October 2006.
A Grandmother brought in a 7 year-old boy with bilateral cleft lip and palate deformity. She arrived late and missed the registration deadline. She refused to leave - threatened to kill herself and demanded to see Dr. Wong. Dr. Wong learned that the boy's younger brother's kidney tumour had already cost the family $40,000RBM and that there was no money left to help this boy - our mission was his last hope. Dr. Wong could not say no after hearing this story; he personally performed the 5 hour repair and afterwards told the child to always remember how his grandmother fought for him.
A 14 year-old girl was a cleft lip deformity was very quiet and emotionless during the screening interview. Her father timidly revealed that she had never had a chance to attend school because her classmates would throw stones at her. Her emotion and anger was uncovered in the recovery room, where she howled like a baby wolf. Dr. Wong assured her that she is not too old to go back to school and now we know that she has applied to go back.
A 10 year-old boy with multiple facial deformities (cleft lip and palate, ptosis of the eyes and mild Treacher-Collin Syndrome) and almost illegible speech made a spontaneous public speech to thank the team on behalf of the other kids. It was inspiring to see the courageous human spirit of these children and their families against all odds that life has imparted on them.