Sponsor a Smile
With the hope of bringing smiles to indigent Filipinos with cleft lip and palate, Charity First Foundation Inc. launched its medical program in the year 2004. The program came about when the organization sponsored a mission for "Operation Smile," an NGO specializing in cleft lip and cleft palate operations. Subsequent to this mission, the organization decided to set up its own medical program. Thus, Sponsor a Smile, the organization’s medical program, came to be.
The first medical mission was conducted on July 1-3, 2004 at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legaspi, Albay. The mission performed reconstructive surgery on 69 patients, most of them children between the ages of 3 and 12, with harelip and cleft palate problems. The three-day mission was made possible through the combined efforts of Dr. Lawrence Loh and Dr. Vilma Hao, Executive Director of Operation Smile Phils., and in partnership with the Albay-Legaspi Chinese Filipino community.
Following this mission, a second one was held in the province of Isabela on May 4-6, 2005, at the Cauyan District Hospital, in partnership with the Isabela Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce, where 59 indigent patients were assisted.
The procedure for medical missions begins with a pre-screening, which is done by a volunteer doctor from the partner organization, Operation Smile. This is followed by a pediatric check-up with Dr. Adeline Ty-Lee of the Chinese General Hospital. When found fit, patients are recommended and endorsed for surgery. Post-operative check-ups and medical assistance are also provided for patients.
In partnership with Operation Smile Philippines and its team of volunteer plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, and speech pathologists, Sponsor a Smile has served a total of 301 patients since its inception.
“The best portion of a good man’s life – little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love”