I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials…children with cleft palates and other facial deformities. As with similar commercials that tug at the heartstrings, sometimes it’s easier to change the channel than to sit through and watch it. But, the reality of it is still there. Aimee Cornell realizes this and is joining an organization that is taking action to help children with facial deformities. She’s going with Uplift Internationale, on their annual Operation Taghoy in the Philippines. Appropriately enough, “Taghoy” is a Philippine word for “whistle”!

Some background on why Uplift Internationale chose the Philippine’s as the location for one of the missions:
  • 1 of every 350 live births is estimated to be at risk of having a facial deformity, more than twice the incidence noted in developed countries
  • Children born with a deformity do not always receive timely care and are at greater risk of frequent upper respiratory infections, hearing deficits, speech impediments, as well as misaligned teeth and jaws
  • These facial deformities rob children of many things we take for granted, like the charm of a smile or the pleasure of a whistle
  • Municipal hospitals, institutions mandated to provide care to the impoverished, are typically ill-funded, poorly equipped and understaffed so as to prioritize care to emergent before elective problems
  • Less than 1/2 of the total hospital beds are located in rural communities where nearly 70% of the population resides
To address these needs, Uplift Internationale started an annual medical mission, named Operation Taghoy. This is a two-week medical mission to provide reparative surgical care to indigent children in the rural Philippines born with facial deformities, primarily clefts of the lip and palate. These medical services are provided by professionals and personnel who volunteer their time to fly to the Philippines and perform these surgeries. That’s pretty awesome stuff.
The care is provided without cost to the children or their families, and with minimal burden to the host hospitals. If you want to see the impact this has on children who have these surgeries, check out this little girl’s reaction when she sees herself for the first time, post-op.
So, this is what Amy will be helping with when she leaves to the Philippines in 2-3 weeks. Amy will be on the outreach team, which means she’s responsible for helping coordinate patients pre- and post-surgery, and also to document the trip so that Uplift Internationale can spread the word about the work they are doing in the Philippines.
Thanks to some great friends that have helped her along the way, Amy has already reached her fundraising goal of $1,500.00, but for a small organization like this, donations are always welcome to help prepare for future operations. Without donors, they wouldn’t be able to provide these medical services at no-cost to the recipient. I encourage you all the check out the organization, and check out Amy’s blog to see how her adventure goes!
I also want to share some of Amy’s words on why she got involved, and encourage all of you to do the same, with whatever organization or mission is nearest and dearest to you:
“I decided to get involved because I can! I’m lucky – I’m a happy and healthy 28 year old, and I am satisfied enough with my life that I can devote a little part of it to someone else. I can give up a few weeks of my year to be a part of something bigger, and I have friends and family who can help me do that, and in turn, participate themselves. For me, life is all about being involved. If you don’t get off your butt and participate, how can you expect to shape the world they way you envision it to be? It’s not so much a question of why you should get involved, it’s a question of why you shouldn’t.
Amen.

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