On Day Six’s blog, we shared the story about how Tom Fox found 5-year-old Nina playing in an abandoned parking lot and convinced her parents to get surgery for her cleft palate. Tom and Anton asked around the neighborhood where Nina grew up and was told that Nina is married and lives in Mactan, a city about 45 minutes away. Her mother let Nina know that Rotaplast was back in Cebu City and organized a trip to the hospital.

Nina’s mother cried as she recounted the story of how they tried to get surgery at a mission in Lapu-Lapu city, but did not qualify. Although she did not speak English, her gratitude for Rotaplast spoke through her tears.

After a tour on the post-op ward, Sue and Tom Fox posed for a photo with Nina and her mother.

Twice As Nice

Not only did Nina make an appearance today, another past Rotaplast patient, Angelica, came for a visit.

In 2004, Angelica was just a baby being held in her older sister’s arms on the street. She was being used to garnish sympathy for money.

Always on the lookout to find another smile to save, Tom Fox saw Angelica and brought Anton back to convince the family to have Rotaplast change Angelica’s life. Keep in mind, she was a source of income for the family, so the discussion wasn’t easy.

Once the decision was made, Sharron Newton, RN enlisted the help of a local volunteer who could clearly communicate what information she needed from Angelica’s family in order to create her chart. Sharron and Tom met up with the family again in 2009 in a nearby neighborhood.

Fast forward to last week, 19 years later, when Anton and Tom were able to locate Angelica by showing photos to locals. She is a senior in high school and now goes by GG. Sadly, GG’s father passed away after being in a motorcycle accident. Today, she lives with her mother (who earns a living doing laundry) and attends school remotely.

When GG got to the hospital, it was clear that her cleft lip was repaired, but her palate still impeded her speech. She was assessed by the medical team to see if there was anything that could be done for her. Unfortunately, her palate is fully formed and surgical repair is not possible.

There is still a reason to smile though, the Rotaplast team connected GG with a local dentist who can fit her for an obturator (see DAY THREE blog for definition) which will help her swallow and drink.

Hail To Hoyt

Wrap A Smile

The quilts seen here were  made for and donated by Wrap-A-Smile. Ann Demeranville (Rotarian from District 7780 in Maine, USA) leads this Rotary-based organization which coordinates volunteer quilters from across the US and abroad.  Before going into surgery, each patient receives one of these hand-selected, unique Wrap-A-Smile quilts.  As of  November, 2022, Wrap-A-Smile has made over 24,700 quilts! The patients have this quilt when leaving the operating room, while in the recovery room, and then they take it home as a special souvenir. Thank you Wrap-A-Smile for all that you do…the world is a brighter and warmer place because of your love and efforts.

Betcha Can’t Help But Smile

We Can’t Do It Alone

A Rotaplast mission is a multi-layered undertaking. Not only do local Rotarians and volunteers spend tireless hours preparing for a mission, they also seek financial support within the community. Our Lady of Fatima Villa Foundation is one of the many supporters of this particular Rotaplast mission. The foundation was established to raise funds  for the support, building and capital improvements necessary to maintain  a high standard of care for residents of Our Lady of Fatima Villa. They deeply appreciate all of the generous donations made by families,  residents and friends, which have enabled the community to be recognized for its superb care.