Operation Smile Celebrates 30 Years with Month-Long Mission

The global charity returns to the Philippines and performs over 1,200 free reconstructive surgeries to repair cleft lips and palates.

Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013  |  Updated 2:22 PM PDT
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Operation Smile Celebrates 30 Years with Month-Long Mission

Every three minutes, a child is born with a facial deformity like a cleft lip or palate.

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For 30 years, Operation Smile has mobilized a world of generous hearts to heal children's smiles and transform lives across the globe. To learn more about Operation Smile and how you can join their effort, visit operationsmile.org.

Did you know that every three minutes a child is born with a facial deformity like a cleft lip or a cleft palate? Without proper surgery, these children are unable to eat, speak, socialize or even smile. And nowhere does this problem go untreated more than in developing countries.

Luckily, Operation Smile has been doing its best to change that. Since its inception in 1982--when Dr. Bill Magee and wife Kathy Magee first lead a group of medical volunteers to repair cleft lips and palates in the Philippines--the international medical charity has performed over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with these facial deformities.

Now, Operation Smile is celebrating its 30th anniversary. But rather than rest on their laurels, the charity returned to where it all started with an eye firmly fixed on the future.

Last month, a team of 700 Filipinos and 300 international volunteers (representing 37 countries) participated in a 30-day healthcare initiative called "The Journey Home," offering free services across the country.

And the results are as impressive as they are heartwarming.

With the help of local partners like the Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung Charitable Foundation, the HOPE Volunteers Foundation, the Kapampangan Development Foundation and the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, Operation smile organized a medical mission on a scale and size that has never been done before, providing…

  • 8,000 free healthcare evaluations
  • 6,110 free dental treatments
  • 1,219 free reconstructive surgeries
  • They also shipped 14 tons of medical supplies and equipment to local medical mission sites

But beyond the staggering stats, it's Operation Smile's ability to transform lives that remains the core of its mission even after three decades of service.  Over the years, children who have benefited from these charitable surgeries have gone on to work in fields as diverse as medicine and entertainment, proving just how far reaching a simple surgery can be.

Operation Smile, however, isn't treating "The Journey Home" as a one-off celebration, but rather a demonstration of their global capabilities and a catalyst for the next 30 years. With renewed commitment from long-time partners and a host of new supporters and donors, the charity will be putting smiles on children's faces for years to come.
 

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