Ema was another one of our special patients who was close to our hearts. She is a very short woman who quietly went through the intake line to be evaluated for surgery. She nodded to everyone who smiled at her, but didn't smile back. She looked so sweet, we wanted to know her story.
A few days later, we had the opportunity to meet Ema again. Ema is 45 years old with a cleft palate. She doesn't have any teeth because they had been pulled when she was younger. Ema was evaluated by Dr. Delaney, who determined that Ema was not a candidate for surgery. Her palate was not able to be stretched to close the gap. Ema was then referred to the Sonrie Foundation, which hopefully could provide a prosthesis. We then discovered, that the foundation would not be able to provide one.
Ema (center), her brother, and Alicia.
However, all hope was not lost. One of the Pereira Rotarians, Alberto, has a niece named Paola who is an orthodontist, and her husband owns a lab where prostheses are made. Meanwhile, a member of the Women's Auxiliary, Maria Elena, took Ema and her brother to a local shelter, Hogar Depaso, because they had nowhere to stay in Pereira.
Paola was able to make the impressions, and her husband's lab donated the whole prosthesis for Ema. We were able to watch as Paola fit Ema for the prosthesis. When she finished, Ema smiled for the first time.
So, even though we were unable to provide the surgery, we helped Ema smile. Rotaplast is truly "Saving Smiles, Changing Lives."