Operation Smile is an international medical charity that sends volunteers to treat cleft lip, cleft palette, and other facial deformities in disadvantaged communities and countries around the world. With over 5,000 credentialed medical volunteers in over 80 countries, OpSmile has changed thousands of children’s lives forever. One major difference between OpSmile and other international medical charities is OpSmile’s devotion to education – Each team places immense importance on teaching and training local medical personnel. The ultimate goal of the organization is self-sustainability; for each country and mission site to achieve sustainable status and have the ability and resources to run local clinics year-round.
Our very own, Xtreme Staffing Consultant in Kirkland has had a lifelong devotion to Operation Smile. Her father, an anesthesiologist, first became involved with the organization when she was in her teens. Since then, she has volunteered with the organization continuously and traveled on three missions herself. Her first was to Guwahati, India and her second was to the Philippines this past year. Recently, Andrea has returned from a mission to Nepal.
In between screening patients and crazy check-ins Andrea sent updates from her trip to everyone at home. Here are a few updates from Andrea while she was on her trip in Nepal:
Week 1 // We have just finished the first week of the mission (Cleft and Burn week) and have a bit of a break today before we screen for the Hand mission tomorrow. We visited all of the C/B patients for Post-Op yesterday and everyone looks to be healing well and very happy with the results of their surgeries. The burn week was the hardest mission I have experienced because of the stories behind the burns. In all it is considerably more difficult to see than a child burn with a cleft or abnormality. That said, the team is an amazing group of volunteers and we did our best to help as many patients as possible in Week 1.
Week 2 // One of the main goals of this mission is to educate the Nepalese staff that will be working in this hospital when we leave. The hospital is brand new and run by Dr. Shankar Rai, the Field Medical Director of this mission. Dr. Rai is not only an amazing surgeon, but incredibly selfless person as well; we are all learning a lot from his team and his efforts to educate Nepal. Screening for week 2 begins tomorrow and will consist of hand surgery patients. That is about it for now… I am off to organize, label, and crop the hundreds of Pre- and Post-Operative photos I have taken for OpSmile’s Outcomes and Data department.
Andrea’s amazing mission has been an inspiration to all of us that have followed her trip and the Opsmile cause.
As you can imagine, the need for Opsmile around the world is vast. Every mission through Operation Smile is a success in the sense that each surgery changes and sometimes saves the lives of its patients. That said, as the organization grows across the globe, the need for financial contribution increases as OpSmile finds more children and communities to help and educate. The average cost of a single surgery through OpSmile is $240 USD – not including the cost of travel and accommodations for volunteers. Andrea is asking everyone in her network to contribute to OpSmile’s mission of changing the faces of children and advancing cleft care around the world.
Xtreme is extending the invitation to contribute to our network: you! Andrea’s goal is to raise $10,000 through her OneSmile Fundraiser – the cost of approximately 42 surgeries and 42 changed lives. You don’t need to go on a mission to make a huge impact – help Andrea and OpSmile change children’s lives around the world by contributing to the cause.
If you have any questions about Andrea’s experience with OpSmile or want to talk about how you can help, feel free to send her an email.