The final day of our Rotaplast Mission is the culmination of the incredible dedication and work by our team over the last nine days, with 69 children receiving new smiles and changed lives!  On this day our surgeons meet with all of the patients who received surgeries throughout the week for one final post-op consultation. There is a very different “vibe” in the room compared to the first day of pre-op consults. The anxiousness has been replaced with relief as the families can now picture a brighter future for each of their children thanks to the transformative surgeries they received.

There’s still a long journey for healing and building language skills, especially with the cleft palates, but that brighter future is a strong motivator for the parents and caregivers. However, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges that many families face, including living conditions and access to proper nourishment, which may impact the healing process. One family told our team that they survive on dried fish and some greens when they can get them.

There is also one last group meeting with the previous two nights’ patients held by our nursing team to provide the all-important after care instructions. Tearful hugs of gratitude and playful waves from smiling toddlers as they leave serve as important reminders of the impact of the Rotaplast Mission on the lives of these families. Their quilts from Wrap-A-Smile, along with the toys and lots of bubbles brought by our Rotaplast team and members of Rotary Club of Yokohama Konan, Japan, will provide long-time memories of their life-changing experience.

Once the families have left, members of the team remain on site for hours inventorying and packing up all of the medical equipment brought on the trip, from gauze to anesthesia machines, all under the watchful eye of Head Nurse Sharron Newton and Mission Director Tom Fox. We end this Mission with high hopes for all the families, and look forward to being a part of the 20th year of Rotaplast in Cebu City in 2025.

One final thank you to share – “Thank you everyone. You don’t know how happy we are.  It’s a life-changing event in our life when you say YES we are qualified!”  Saving Smiles.  Changing Lives.