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A Smile Makes All The Difference

Field Report by Operation Blessing

CAMBODIA – Although he was her second child, Lak Sopheap was not prepared for his birth. It should have been such a joy. But when she first saw Thaina, her smile turned to tears. He had a severe cleft lip that stretched up to his nose. She held the child in her arms and promised that she would try to help him recover.

But that promise, sadly, proved impossible to keep. Lak Sopheap couldn’t work. She had to take care of the children. Her husband earned less than $9 a day at construction jobs—when they were available. At other times, he helped local farmers tend their cassava fields, but he only got paid at harvest time. Money was always a worry, and milk was expensive.

Now that they had an extra mouth to feed, how would she help her baby boy with his severe cleft lip? Thankfully, an answer came through friends like you!

overcoming severe cleft lip

Constant Battles Due to the Impact of Severe Cleft Lip

For six months, Lak Sopheap struggled to care for her son. His severe cleft lip made feeding time a constant battle. Milk escaped through the infant’s nose and lips—milk they couldn’t afford to waste. In addition, Thaina was not able to get the nutrition he desperately needed as a growing baby. If not repaired soon, his condition could become life-threatening.

Lak Sopheap longed to get Thaina the surgery he needed, but the family simply couldn’t afford it. “I just want to see my son smile again.” Still, she kept hoping that one day a miracle would happen. And it did!

Thanks to the kindness of Operation Blessing family members like you, Thaina was able to get the life-changing surgery he needed. Within a few weeks, he was able to eat better and even smile. The family is relieved, and also thankful that Thaina will also receive cleft palate surgery when the time is right.

“We are happy, and every time I look at my face, I always have a smile,” his mother said.

Friends just like you are making a difference in the lives of people around the world through our Life-Changing Surgeries program. These surgeries relieve the financial burden from families in remote areas who can’t afford medical care and give them the chance to thrive. Their smiles make all the difference!

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