U.S. Navy Ship Mercifully Anchors Smiles on Kids

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—“Happy chaos.”
This was the atmosphere inside the room that served as a waiting and receiving area for the young patients who underwent cleft lip and palate repair onboard the American hospital ship USNS Mercy, according to Anthony Thomas Shilton of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat (RCM), Pampanga province.
Shilton and his wife, May, both of them former RCM presidents, assisted the giggling children and their overjoyed parents who saw the Operation Smile surgery as a life-changer.

“We’re very grateful to Operation Smile,” said Rubi Ann Bandies, 34, who traveled with her two children from Urdaneta City in Pangasinan province for the free reconstructive surgery.
“The doctors and nurses were very caring. After this, our lives will never be the same again,” she added.
Bandies and two of her four children, Ruvin, 2, and Ruvilavin, 10 months old, have cleft deformities.
“My children will live normal lives because they will not be teased anymore. And I will also gain self-confidence,” she said.
RCM and Kapampangan Development Foundation (KDF) organized the Operation Smile project here under the US Navy’s Pacific Partnership Program. The free cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgeries started on Aug. 6 and ends Thursday

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