LWB Community Blog

Day Four of the 2012 Cleft Exchange

Today one of the volunteers said it is a shame that these trips don’t last two weeks, as everyone has truly hit their stride, and the entire China/American team is working seamlessly together to help the kids.

Thursday morning was very busy as many rural families came to the hospital to check in and lots of babies were being discharged. The OR day began at 8 a.m. with two local children going into surgery for palate repairs. Xian was Dr. Ness’ first patient today. She is a very beautiful girl with a very attentive dad. Dr. Ness said that she was so lovely that he wanted to do a lip revision as well as her palate so that she wouldn’t have any scar at all.

Xian and her dad

First up on rounds this morning was little Michael. Everyone is amazed by his changed appearance as Dr. Tolan’s repair was just so beautiful. Officials with the Chinese Red Cross came to the hospital today to meet our team, and they couldn’t believe the difference between his before photo taped to the wall and how he looked today. Many people don’t know that Dr. Tolan was the first surgery student to train under Dr. Ness, and so they have a friendly competition going on who can build the most beautiful new nose!


Colleen is doing very well post op. One of the volunteers today said she is just like one of those dolls that when you pick her up, she giggles every time! We have been blessed to have many Chinese volunteers come to help translate from the local university. One of the 19-year-old students has fallen in love with little Colleen and loved carrying her around the hospital so she could see all the activity.

Colleen and her new friend

Isaac was very quiet today on the ward, feeling a bit lost without his buddies. We know he will be happy when he can join them once again. (Katherine, Steven, and Danny were all discharged yesterday.)


It was time to say goodbye today as well to Ray, Valor, and Jaylinn. These beautiful children all have new smiles to take back to their hometowns. Don’t they look adorable in their departure outfits?

Many of you might remember little Blaise. He came to our cleft trip in Fujian in 2010, but he was too tiny and weak at the time for surgery. He has been living at our Heartbridge Healing Home, and unfortunately his local repair had broken apart, leaving him with little tissue to work with again. Dr. Ness knew it was going to be difficult to help him, and he told us that cutting through the old repair today was like “cutting through cement.” He gave Blaise a beautiful new lip, however, and used the strongest suture possible to make sure it stays in place this time.


Eight-year-old Betsy went into surgery today as well. The doctors confirmed that she was not born with cleft lip; hers was caused by trauma in the past. They removed a lot of the scar tissue in her chin and gave her a beautiful repair as well.


Two of the rural moms who checked in today with their babies are both so young. They had not met before coming to try and get surgery from our team, but they have struck up a really nice friendship. We hope it can continue post-surgery so that they can support each other as they parent their children with cleft.

In addition to several rural families, several of the children from the Henan Healing Home are on tomorrow’s schedule:

Baby Abby will be first up for Dr. Tolan

Bennett will be receiving surgery tomorrow…

…as will Christopher.

Little Abigail (seen above) arrived with her caregiver from Eagle’s Nest in Jiaozuo. She will be the last baby on the OR schedule tomorrow.

The whole team is so grateful for all of the support and good wishes sent their way. They said the atmosphere in the hospital today was filled with good vibes and positive energy. One more day to go! We’ll update you tomorrow!

~Amy Eldridge, Executive Director


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