During our last patient screening we were able to spend some time with two of our most special patients: Sai Sai and Amethyst both of whom have a very rare condition called oromandibular hypogenesis syndrome. The girls were born unable to open their mouths and are lacking parts of their jaw as well as complete arms and legs. Sai Sai and Amethyst are two very special, brave and intelligent little girls but they will require ongoing sponsorship especially during their growth phases. Thank you to everyone who is helping us to help them and a special shout out to Mao and Ophee de Vera who have been donating themselves and helping us try to raise funds.
Sai Sai is the most determined little girl you could imagine. She is actually attending school, is able to open her mouth now and is eating. Her favourite is Jollibee burger steak! She can read and write and do basic mathematics but her speech is underdeveloped. Poor little thing had a terrible toothache when we last saw her but she is determined to be accepted and to do things that normal children do. She is coping very well with her prosthetic legs and will be fitted with a new pair shortly as she is growing. Sai Sai has a real dignity of spirit and courage that is admirable.
Amethyst still has a tracheostomy and this has needed to be changed and cleaned regularly.She is also struggling with her legs as she is much stronger on one side of her body than the other and therefore finds it hard to balance and walk on the prosthetic legs. The dominant leg also gets very sore from the rubbing and irritation. Amethyst is however, progressing nicely in her general health and growth and is able to eat and drink a fairly normal diet. She lacks speech development. She is however, able to understand everything and can read at an age appropriate level. Amethyst has a very gentle and loving nature and with her big eyes and tenderness engenders those around her. You simply cannot help loving Amethyst.
ABS-CBN reporters and camera men were on hand for our screening day at our recent mission to Las Piñas City Medical Center. We screened 47 patients on the day all of whom were operated on or referred for care to our colleagues at the Philippine General Hospital. ABS-CBN was impressed not only with the long term commitment of Operation Restore Hope and the quality of work that it does but with the charity’s collaboration with the local medical practitioners to ensure that children in the charity’s programs have ongoing care.
The screening days and follow up clinics provide a chance not only to plan surgery but to review our previous patients and to follow-up on their progress. It is not just healing from the surgery that needs to be monitored in these little patients but the function of their speech as they develop, their dental work and of course their appearance as well. Many of the children require to have their operations done in two stages if they have both a cleft lip and palate and present to us in the first year of life. Older children may have both operations simultaneously. The optimum, however, for the child and their potential results and development is to have the first operation in the first year of life and the second the following year.
Thank you to for ABS-CBN for raising awareness of the need of these children with cleft lip and palate living in Las Piñas and in the Philippines in general and how their lives can be changed with an operation if charity surgery is made available to them.
Operation Restore Hope is extremely proud to announce that Aly Borromeo – Former Captain of the Azkals (Philippine National Football Team) is our new Charity Ambassador.
When Aly was a baby he had a cleft lip and a life changing operation which helped change the trajectory of his life.
Operation Restore Hope has helped close to 3,000 children suffering from cleft lip in the Philippines and these operations have allowed these children to go on and live fulfilling and happy lives just like Aly.
Dr Hodgkinson was recently asked to give a presentation on Operation Restore Hope’s more than 20 year charitable commitment in the Philippines at The Consulate General of the Republic of the Philippines in Sydney. The presentation was part of the Philippines celebrating National Volunteers Month with the theme “Volunteer for Sustainable & Inclusive Development”. The event held at the Consulate coincided with the Biannual Meeting of Filipino Community Leaders.
Dr Hodgkinson’s presentation outlined not only the achievements of Operation Restore Hope but also the critical nature of collaboration with our Filipino partners both in the Philippines and here in Australia over these many years to make this work possible. It is only in working together that we can provide optimal outcomes on the ground that can be sustained in the long term.
Dr Hodgkinson was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his presentation as well as his and Operation Restore Hope’s ongoing work for less fortunate children in the Philippines with cleft lip and palate and other birth defects and deformities who without charity would go unaided.