Cleft Exchange Day One
How best to put into words, the excitement, joy and wonder of an international medical exchange. Great things always happen when people travel from near and far to come together to heal children in need. It was an incredible first day.
Our team has arrived safely and on time and includes Dr. Ness, Dr. Martin, LWB China staff members Stephanie, Liping and Richard, LWB Spanish Volunteer Jone, and Holli, a Shanghai expat. All arrived at Fudan University at 1pm to visit the children already in the hospital being prepared for their surgeries tomorrow. The doctors and nurses at Fudan speak English so communication will not be an issue. Drs. Ness and Martin are very impressed with the facilities and state of the art equipment at Fudan and enjoyed meeting the medical staff there.
Five children are already admitted to the hospital and ready for their surgeries in the a.m. (Brian, JD, Liang, Xiang, and Peng)
Many of you might remember JD from the LWB blog. He is the little boy from rural Hunan who lives with his grandmother, who is so very poor. We repaired his cleft lip last year and then arranged for him to have a tutor to help his studies. JD is having his palate repaired and because his grandmother was too old to travel, his teacher at school, Mr. Mao, volunteered to come with him! So many people want to see this special little boy have every chance possible in life to succeed. JD has been a helper to everyone in the hospital, handing out supplies and helping our staff with small tasks. He is quiet boy, but he makes friends very quickly. He has loved the toys that the volunteers have brought for him, including puzzles, a model car, and his favorite was an aircraft carrier!
After a tour of the hospital, the team delivered the bags with formula, food and toys for the children, and also the fruit and food for the caregivers, prepared by the expats in Shanghai. We are so grateful for their wonderful help! Then it time to go down the street to the hotel, one block away, to visit the rest of the children and their caregivers while they wait for surgery in this city so far from their home orphanages. Jone, who flew in from Spain for the exchange, had this to say about visiting the babies:
“You cannot imagine what I felt… any word I may use would not explain the amount of emotions the children made me feel. They are incredible, really. In the pictures you cannot hear them laughing out loud (yes, very out loud!!!) I also want to let you know how happy is Gavin, the child with the facial cleft in his little face. He is so loved and you can tell. He has a very easy smile. He gave me the gift of his laughing 🙂 It is impressive! I want to dedicate my today’s last comment to the caregivers. You cannot imagine how well they care the children, how they love them. Chapeau!”
Lianne remains such a shining star; she is never afraid of foreigners and was making faces and singing to everyone. She was happy to see our wonderful staff member Stephanie from past meetings. Her paperwork has been sent for adoption, and so 2009 might be the year she has a permanent home of her own.
We need special prayers for several of the children who have some medical issues that need to resolve before surgery. Jia has a skin rash, and Ping, Lianne, and Gavin are coughing. Gavin’s severe facial cleft will be a very intricate surgery, but Dr. Ness told our team that he has repaired more complicated ones in the past, so we really need Gavin to get well so he can have this opportunity at surgery. Hopefully antibiotics will clear these problems quickly so every child can be healed.
Everyone headed back to their hotel room for rest and to get ready for the long days of surgery ahead. It all begins tomorrow, and we can’t wait to see the results when the doctors use their wonderful skills to change these children’s lives forever. More news soon, and enjoy the wonderful photos below. Thank you to all of our supporters who are making this medical exchange possible. So many kids will be healed! If you want to see even more pictures, here are two links to visit: