LWB Community Blog

United In Purpose: The 2016 Cleft Medical Exchange

Two weeks from today, a team from around the globe will be making their way to China for a united purpose:  LWB’s 2016 Cleft Medical Exchange.

Chisholm 3.12.16Chisholm

I’ve been volunteering for LWB Healing Homes for over three years now. I spend my days and weeks as part of an international team watching over and making plans for the fortunate little ones who come into care at our Anhui Healing Home (AHH). The ones who don’t enter LWB care are never far from my thoughts, either. I can’t wait to get my feet on the ground and meet children like little Chisholm face-to-face. You see, he has been living at AHH for several months now, and I’ve been caring for him from afar. I can’t wait to meet this little guy in person!

Laurie Sweeney Matt

A trip like the Cleft Medical Exchange has been on my want-list for many years now. Like me, many of my fellow LWB volunteers are adoptive parents that are passionate about paying forward the gift they have been given. The team that will gather in China for the Cleft Medical Exchange are traveling at their own expense, equally as passionate about being good stewards of their time as they are about making sure your donations go straight to the care of the children like Violet.

Violet 2.16Violet

You’ll be hearing from me quite a bit over the next few weeks. So, to start out, let’s go over some interesting facts about the LWB 2016 Cleft Medical Exchange.

Our team of 16 will be traveling from different corners of the world to converge in Kaifeng, China. LWB’s China staff will serve as our translators, guides, and logistical coordinators. Seven medical professionals will be evaluating each child and performing every surgery, as well as monitoring recovery before discharge. The team is rounded out with two medical assistants, our LWB Team leader, our photographer…and then there’s me, charged with writing the updates.

We are all hoping to make this year a huge success.

Cleft exchange group

The patient list is a work in progress; new kids are being approved for surgery every day.

Right now, we are expecting 41 children to arrive for surgery:
17 girls
24 boys
22 palate repairs
16 lip repairs
3 nose or other repairs

CME2016 candidate1Bennett

We have been thrilled with the number of people signing up as sponsors so children like Bennett can have surgery!  At this time, there are just a few children coming for surgery who are in need of sponsors:

CME 2016 candidate2Lily

CME2016 CharlieCharlie

CME AllysonAllyson

Children will be arriving from eight different provinces as seen below:

CME2016 map
2 – Anhui
3 – Fujian
4 – Gansu
2 – Guangdong
4 – Guizhou
21 – Henan
2 – Shandong
3 – Shanxi

Many of our team members have applied for baggage waivers with our respective airlines. The donations are pouring in, and personally, I will be packing three checked bags full of donated items for children in need.

no-nosArm restraints (No-Nos)

The team as a whole will be bringing:
Handmade bibs
No-no’s (post-surgical arm restraints)
Taggie blankets
Scar creams
Cleft lip taping supplies
Diaper rash cream
Toys for the kids
Children’s pain relievers

400 bibs

The most important thing we are bringing is the love and support of all of the LWB sponsors. We will treat each child with the love and the dignity that he or she deserves, and we know that each dollar you give is a personal sacrifice and act of love toward them.

Mary Beth 3.13.16Mary Beth

On behalf of the children like Mary Beth awaiting surgery, we thank you!

~Laurie Sweeney, Healing Homes Associate Director

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