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Final Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

It’s our final morning to say “Hello from Phnom Penh and Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.” We’re happy that all our patients continue to recover well, and that meant a few more discharges were in order. Kenzie’s grandma reported that her granddaughter slept well through the night and completely regained her appetite, so it was time for our team to say goodbye to this beautiful little girl. We’re all wishing her a future filled with love, health, and laughter.

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Second Surgery Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

It’s Day Two of surgeries here in Phnom Penh, and we’re happy to report that all of our little patients are doing well. Avery is understandably still very sore from her lip repair yesterday, but she looked great during morning rounds. One of the adorable little boys having surgery today is Silas, who will be turning four in just a few weeks. His parents are rice farmers, and he’s the baby of his family. Silas’ mom saw an advertisement that our team would be in Cambodia this week and knew right away that she needed to bring him to see the doctors.

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First Surgery Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

Greetings from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where it’s a balmy 90 degrees and 94% humidity!  The warm temps didn’t get in the way of some really successful surgeries today though. Little Avery hitched a ride on our team’s bus this morning, as she was one of the first children on the schedule. She had no idea that today her life was going to change in an enormous way.

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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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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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Baby Griffin

In early July, an orphanage in Anhui called us for help. They had just received an abandoned three-week old baby boy who was malnourished, dehydrated, and had a seriously bloated abdomen. Afraid that he might have an intestinal obstruction, we rushed him to the hospital. Doctors discovered that he had necrotizing entercolitis, or NEC, a life-threatening […]

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Journey to Cambodia 2017: Hope in the Slums

About a quarter of the world’s population live in slums, officially defined as “squalid and overcrowded districts inhabited by people in poverty.”  In the region we recently visited in Cambodia, that definition was sadly accurate. We passed shanty after shanty built right along the railroad track, metal shacks thrown up by squatters, with dangling electrical lines I was told were illegally and dangerously spliced in. We came to this slum in Cambodia in search of a baby girl whom Leng, our LWB Cambodia Director, first met at a border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand. Leng had been extremely concerned to see how malnourished and sick the little girl was.

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