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CherryFic Smile, A Gift of a Lifetime

May 4, 2016
Written by Relet Martobago
 
Twelve (12) indigent kids from different provinces were given the gift that would change their lives forever! Fuller smiles are evident to these children after the Cleft Lip or Palate Surgical Mission. With this gift, Cherry Mobile have fixed their broken smiles that built up self confidence, prevented social stigma of having such physical deformity (cleft lip or palate) and a chance to live a normal life.Twelve (12) indigent kids from different provinces were given the gift that would change their lives forever! Fuller smiles are evident to these children after the Cleft Lip or Palate Surgical Mission. With this gift, Cherry Mobile have fixed their broken smiles that built up self confidence, prevented social stigma of having such physical deformity (cleft lip or palate) and a chance to live a normal life.
 

Cleft lip or palate deformity affects roughly 500 babies every year. This craniofacial deformity is congenital; it may be corrected thru surgery that can cost up to P50, 000 to P100, 000. If not corrected early, this defect branches out to more serious complications such as respiratory ailments, ear infection, malnutrition and psychosocial implications. This may cause inferiority complex, low self-esteem or disrupted self image. This program is being implemented by Cherry Mobile’s Corporate Social Responsibility to fix and transform this physical deformity into a fuller smile for the beneficiaries.
 

 

 
Cherry Mobile co-implemented and sponsored a surgical mission targeting the most deserving indigent patients suffering from Cleft Lip or Palate from Metro Manila and nearby cities. This is also allotted to defray the cost of operation, medicines, including meals and accommodation of patients and their parent during the entire duration of surgery. This project was made possible in partnership with the Operation Smile Philippines which provided the world-class medical support – sophisticated surgery process, multi-professional diagnosis (pediatrician, orthodontist, speech therapist and surgeons), and professional service with compassion. The actual surgery happened at Sta. Ana Hospital, Manila on March 10, 2016.
 
 
Special leisure time for children and parents were also shared by Cherry Mobile employees and volunteers – Rochelle Lipata (Company Nurse), Jun Noveno (Trade Marketing Department), Gemma Alkuino (Warehouse), Jezreel Abesamis(Quality Control Department) and Julius Javier (Quality Control Department). Amidst this strenuous day for parents, they were given a break while volunteers played with the children. On the other hand, the employees were given opportunity to observe in the operating room with full gear on their scrub suits. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be exposed in a life-changing process and learn that a surgical mission is more than just giving donation, but it is a holistic transformation among the beneficiaries as well as cultivating a culture of social responsibility among Cherry Mobile employees.
 
During the project implementation, it was observed that parents are both excited and nervous from the selection process up to the day of surgery. In every opening of the operating room, one or two faces lighted up because they see their child coming out. While some children expressed their pain with their loudest cries, the parents expressed their support with their warm hugs and calming voices. One mother, Analyn, shared, “Nung nilabas na siya (Amerson, the patient) galing sa operating room, iyak siya nang iyak.. at tinawag niya ako for the first time ng “Mama”. Dati ikasi, ang kaya niyang banggitin ay “Wawa” dahil yung ngala-ngala niya ay butas, hindi siya nakakapag salita nang maayos. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam nung tinawag niya ako ng tamang pagkakabigkas. Ito na yata yung pinakamasarap na pakiramdam”.(When the doctors came out with Amerson from the Operating Room, he was crying and for the first time, he cried out “Mama”, previously, he calls me “Wawa”. Because his velum was open, he could not talk normally. It is uplifting to hear that word from him. For me, this is the best feeling I ever had.)
 
What is more interesting in this project is the implementation of an aftercare intervention which provides support group among the parents/guardians of the patients. This project component aims to organize parents and guardians to help them cope with the challenges they might encounter during the healing process. Ate Runa shared that after the surgery, her bond as a parent to Reina strengthened. When she first saw her child after giving birth, she was not able accept it easily. She knows that there is a possibility of having a cleft child due to her kin but actually seeing her child having the deformity is hurtful. “Mas naging masaya kami. Minsan, tumitingin siya sa salamin at ngumingiti. Dati, parang alam niya na may mali sa mukha niya kaya hindi siya nakakangiti pero ngayon, gusto niya nang nagsasalamin”. (After the surgery, we became happier. Sometimes, she looks at herself in the mirror and smile. Previously, she doesn’t smile when she sees herself in the mirror because maybe, she feels that there is something wrong with her face.)
 
On the other hand, Mary Rose, mother of Ella, shares some tips with the parents. The part of the lip that was operated may become hard and it will make the child uneasy to talk. To prevent it, she shared that “Pwede nating i-massage yung parte ng labi na matigas. Painitin yung kamay natin, tapos ihaplos sa bibig nila”. (We can massage the hard part of the lip. We rub our hands to heat, and then gently put in their mouth). The nurse of Operation Smile who observes during the activity agreed to this suggestion as a non-harmful aftercare activity. This worthwhile sharing with the parents projects their built up support and care for each other

For Cherry Mobile, the world-class service of Operation Smile Philippines and the priceless result of the surgery to the patients are the measure of success of this project. And maybe, in this fast and sometimes harsh world, let this not be the last but the first in making all the smiles sincere -- a smile that changes lives and heals humanity.
 


 
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