LWB Community Blog

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.

In 2016, a global study found that Cambodia has the highest rate of untreated cleft lip and palate around the world, so we’re beyond excited for this year’s LWB Cleft Medical Exchange, which begins next week. As we began identifying patients for surgery, it was clear that there is definitely a need for increased education about cleft lip in the rural regions of Cambodia where LWB works. Most parents we’ve spoken with had no idea that an operation was available to give their children a brand new smile.

Today we want to introduce you to one of the beautiful children who will be treated by our team next week. Little Avery is eight months old and lives with her family in a rural village near the Thai border. Her mother told us she cried when they learned the baby had cleft because of all the superstitions surrounding this birth defect. The family was told that their tiny baby should be given to the monks to raise in order to atone for her past life.

Thankfully, one of our medical team members in the region met the family and explained that cleft lip was completely correctable. They are now filled with new hope about their daughter’s future, thanks to your support for cleft-affected children.

We still have 18 children just like Avery needing sponsorship for cleft repair surgeries. Visit our Cleft Exchange sponsorship page to make a gift today, and we’ll match you with a baby or child once our little patients are selected on the first day of the trip.

Your donation sends the affirming message that babies born with cleft lip are wonderful, regular children who just need a little extra support.

We can’t wait to show you baby Avery’s new look on our blog next week. THANK YOU for helping!

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