LWB Community


Let the Healing Begin!

All the members of our medical team have arrived safely in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is the country’s largest and most densely populated city, with over 1.5 million people calling it home. Children will be coming here from all over Cambodia to have surgery this week. Our team photographer, Sherri Cox, snapped some pictures around town to give everyone a feel for where all the excitement will be happening.

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Giving Grace And Her Family The Gift of Hope

Many of you know the story of Grace, the 14-year-old Ugandan girl who had surgery for abdominal tumors this summer. Even while she was recovering in the hospital, she began to dream about continuing her education, since she had dropped out of school in the fifth grade due to her poor health. Thanks to your amazing support, Grace has now returned to school. In fact, your generosity allowed us to enroll not only Grace – but also her younger brother and sister.

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Beautiful Beatrice: Waiting For Adoption

Beautiful Beatrice entered our foster care program when she was just five months old. Beatrice was born with spina bifida, which occurs in utero as the spinal column develops and fails to completely seal. Often, a sac protrudes from a hole in the vertebrae containing spinal fluid, tissue, nerves, and part of the spinal cord. Despite surgery to close the opening, children with spina bifida may experience some degree of paralysis and loss of sensation below the damaged vertebrae. This is what happened in Beatrice’s case. Shortly after she was born, she was taken to an orphanage whose staff arranged for her to have the surgery she needed to survive. Following that operation, it was discovered that Beatrice had lost feeling in her lower body. That certainly didn’t stop this beautiful little girl from embracing her babyhood, however.

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2017 Cleft Medical Exchange: Meet Avery

In many countries around the world, superstitions abound surrounding children born with medical needs. In Africa for example, it’s frequently thought that children born with birth defects are a result of witchcraft. In China, thousands of babies are abandoned each year by families who believe it’s the only way to remove the “curse” that someone has placed on them. In Cambodia, a country where many believe strongly in reincarnation, people often believe children are born with birth defects as punishment for something the baby did in his or her previous life. The sad reality is that as long as people don’t have access to accurate medical knowledge about special needs, superstition and fear will prevail.

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Preemie Olive

In July, our Heartbridge Healing Home welcomed a tiny preemie weighing just four pounds. Her name was Olive. Olive was so tiny and weak that she could barely suck on her bottle. Thankfully, the Heartbridge nannies have lots of experience with premature babies. In just one month, she was quickly downing entire bottles right to the last drop!

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Smile Cambodia

For the last thirteen years, LWB has sent medical teams to China to provide life-changing surgeries to both orphaned and rural children. In 2016, when we began our work in other countries, we immediately set a goal to expand our international outreach with this essential program as well. Many emails were sent to hospitals and organizations throughout southeast Asia introducing LWB and our Cleft Medical Exchange program. In February, we found the perfect opportunity for LWB’s first surgical trip outside of China.  Our team is very excited to partner with a wonderful organization called Smile Cambodia.

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Faye’s Dream

Little Faye is almost four years old. Due to her family’s financial hardship, both of her parents work as migrants far away from her hometown. Fortunately, Faye lives with her grandma and grandpa, who told us that she loves to sing and dance more than anything. They said she is like a little spirit who came out of a fairy tale to bring endless joy to them. Sadly, when she was one year old, doctors diagnosed her with severe pulmonary stenosis, and her family was unable to pay for her operation. For two years they worried and felt helpless, but thankfully this year they heard about LWB’s Unity Initiative and applied right away.

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Meet Our 2017 Cleft Exchange Team

We are excited to introduce our 2017 Cleft Medical Exchange Team! This dedicated group is headed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in a few weeks for our very first Cleft Exchange in southeast Asia. The Exchange will run from October 16 through October 23. Doctors who donate their time and talents are the heart of any Cleft Medical Exchange. Three doctors going to Cambodia — Dr. Kathy Clinch, Dr. Neil Derechin, and Dr. Chris Tolan, have participated in five LWB surgical trips!

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Jason: Experiencing Life and Love With His Foster Family

We first met Jason in March of 2015 as a two-month-old little boy with a GI defect in need of immediate care. Following surgery and many months at the Anhui Healing Home, Jason’s medical needs were stabilized, and he was able to move out of the healing home and into LWB foster care. Jason was welcomed with open arms by a happy foster family in Anhui.

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Warmth for the Winter

LWB has been providing warmth to children on the Tibetan plateau for over a decade, bringing new coats, blankets, and mattresses to thousands of children there.  For our most recent project, LWB director Cindy Wu made the long journey to Zeku County, which is part of the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous region in Qinghai province.  Vast grasslands and pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, and earthen houses dot the villages.

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