Please help her to smile

I have a friend who’s going through trying times.

Six months ago, his daughter was born with a cleft lip. For six months now, he’s endured seeing his little girl go through an endless ordeal of operations and therapy. The pain and confusion reflected in her little innocent eyes during these sessions must not be easy for him to bear.

And it’s only just begun. She will have to go through more surgeries till she’s 18, when she receives her last operation.

My heart goes out to my friend and his wife.

But, more so, my heart goes out to little Natalie, who was born with a cleft lip.

Fortunately for Natalie and her parents, there are two groups in Singapore devoted to supporting families of children with cleft palates.

Under the care of an expert surgeon who works with Operation Smile, Natalie has gone through a series of marvellous transformations.

She looks like such a happy little gem my heart breaks to think of all the pain she has to go through.

Unfortunately for Natalie, the physical scar from the surgeries will never completely disappear. As much as she looks almost normal now, she will bear the mark of her ordeal for life.

Society in general might be mature enough to accept minor facial deformities by the time she grows up, but she might still experience her fair share of jibes and ridicule when she starts going to school, where unthinking, curious, insensitive peers abound.

We can all play a part to help.

We can educate ourselves and we can educate our children. Cleft lip patients are people just like you and me. They deserve a normal life.

And that’s what Operation Smile Singapore and the KK Hospital’s Cleft and Craniofacial Centre have dedicated themselves to — helping cleft lipped children in Singapore grow up to a normal life.

It can be done.

How you can help

  1. Take a moment to look at the Operation Smile website to learn more about the condition. Donate if you can.
  2. Attend the WAFF Carnival on July 13, 2008, at *scape Youth Park.

    WAFF (Warm and Fuzzy Feeling) seeks to increase awareness of cleft lip and palate conditions, as well as raise funds in support of the Cleft and Craniofacial Support Group.

  3. Attend the IGNITE Music Festival 2008 at Republic Polytechnic on July 25-26 because this event also supports the cause.
  4. Spread the word.

Natalie can’t talk yet.

But if she could, I’m sure she would want to thank you personally for your support.

Help her to smile better.