A sweet perfect smile in Fengkai
Popping into the room in his mother’s embrace, Yao Yuming immediately captured our attention with his shining large round eyes and adorable face. This 18-month-old boy looked so lovely that none of us could believe he was born with clefts, and was going to receive another surgery from us.
“We want to thank for the care of all doctors, nurses and other volunteers, especially Dr Ding Guicong (丁桂聰醫生),” said Rong Liu (容柳), Yuming’s mother. Dr Ding was one of our medical volunteers who treated her son in Fengkai in 2014. A year later, they came back again from Wuzhou, Guangxi (廣西悟州), for the free palate surgery which would help develop Yuming’s speech in future.
Rong was a furniture factory worker in Foshan, Guangdong (廣東佛山). She resigned when she was pregnant, and went back to the home town to wait for her first baby to arrive. Supposedly the happiest moment to see her newborn, Rong was desperate when she found Yuming having cleft lip and cleft palate which were not checked in prenatal test, and wondered why it happened on her. Some people consoled her that the advanced medical solutions could tackle this facial defect easily; yet others might give her little boy strange looks. Whatever, the surgery fee was a huge burden to the Yao’s family.
“My husband and I are staying in the village to farm. Now, we are growing Indian jujube (蜜絲棗) which takes a whole year to yield, and nobody can tell whether the fruit would be sold. If not, we may earn not a penny despite all the hard work.” Rong shared the cruel reality of her farming life with us. Luckily, Wuzhou Red Cross told her that BEAM organised annual medical mission in Fengkai, so the couple put aside all the work to seek for our medical assistance.
Rong’s family and neighbours were very happy with the Yuming’s new smile, and she hoped that the little boy could become a capable person to give back to society when he grew up.
By Amy Fung, Marketing Manager of Beam International Foundation, Hong Kong
Act for smile despite the earthquake
“I was very scared because my house was terribly shaking that everyone just rushed straight out to the street. Lots of houses collapsed in the hills but mine was one of the few remained intact in town,” Song Bang-fen, a mother of three, recalled and talked about the earthquake hitting her home county Ludian in Zhaotong City of Yunnan on 3 Aug. It caused at least 3,000 deaths and injuries, and blocked road access to those affected areas – still, two days later, Song fought her way to Kunming with her youngest son, Yang De-yue, to receive his cleft repair surgery! That’s the power of a mother’s love to give the best to her children.
“I have had twin sons so my husband didn’t want to keep this boy because of his clefts. How can a mother abandon her own flesh and blood? I am determined to raise him no matter how poor we are!” Song said. As a small scale farmer with low income, she could only afford two packs of quality baby formula for a day’s hard work. It’s therefore not difficult to comprehend that she would do her utmost to reach us despite the earthquake. Her story received more than 1,000 Likes and reposts by our fans of Facebook and Weibo that would be turned into donation by China Ludao Technology. Please “Like” our Facebook fan page to learn more about our work and join our fundraising force from now on.
August 2014, Kunming, Yunnan
By Amy Fung, Marketing Manager of Beam International Foundation, Hong Kong
Tears and smiles in Fengkai
The greatest love goes beyond blood ties. At the Fengkai mission this Oct, a granny accompanied by her son-in-law came to seek medical assistance for her 18-month-old adopted son, Xu Wei-feng. “I found him in a shoe box while collecting firewood in the forest,” she said. Little Wei-feng was abandoned, probably due to his cleft, and adopted by this loving granny whose own daughters had gotten married. She loves this little one very much that she could not help smiling when talking about this adorable boy, and she is thankful for his restored smile.
Indeed, a repaired cleft makes significant difference to a child’s personal growth, such as the development of speech and self-esteem. The psychosocial impact of clefts becomes more prominent to adolescents, when they start building relationship outside of their immediate family, that teasing and social rejection could cause serious developmental problem.
Li Lai-jiao, aged 16, had dropped out of school for quite some time as she disliked her school life. Always looking sad, she didn’t feel like socialising with others during our Fengkai mission. We truly believe that the repair surgery would transform her life by repairing the facial deformity as well as building her self-confidence and self-esteem. Join us to help more needy children and young adults like Lai-jiao!
October 2014, Fengkai, Guangdong
By Wensty Wong, Senior Development Officer of Beam International Foundation, Hong Kong
“No worries. You will be handsome when you wake up,” our nurse volunteer tried to comfort the little boy, Lu Yu-xu, right before surgery during our Wenshan mission in July 2014. When Lu found that the doctor was a military, he saluted immediately to show his gratitude which melted all the hearts in the operating room.
A week later, Lu not only got back his precious smile, but also brought smiles to the whole family – the best gift of his 3-year-old birthday.
Actually, Lu’s family was prepared to pay for his repair surgery in the summer of 2013 but then he got a cold that the medical treatment had almost drained up the fund. They were thus very excited that we could offer Lu a free surgery, and we made their dream come true this time.
July 2014, Wenshan, Yunnan
Former Chief Representative of Beam International Foundation’s Yunnan Representative Office, Kunming
A good opportunity of medical exchange
Handan mission was completed smoothly right before the Holiday. With 24 medical volunteers as well as corporate volunteers, we screened 96 patients and helped 43 kids in total. Special thanks to Sir David Akers-Jones for his attendance of this mission in spite of the violent Typhoon. One thing I would like to highlight for this mission is the medical exchange.
– A 2-hour Anesthesia lecture was given by Patrick Mcquillan and Marty Clayman on screening day and over 40 Anesthesiologists from different hospitals in Handan city joined.
– A basic nursing lecture was given to nurses from local hospital by our CC LEE during the surgery week.
– A medical forum was carried out for the local hospital staff with our surgeon team as well as our Anesthesiologist Dr Hu Zhiyong right after mission to answer all the questions that local medical staff have after their observation during the mission.
All the medical exchange opportunities were very well received that hopefully would help improve the surgical techniques and knowledge of local surgeons which can benefit more people in Hebei Province in the long run.
October 2013, Handan
By Melissa Wang, Programme Director of Beam International Foundation, Hangzhou
Depart with firm hopes
Today is the last surgery day on this medical mission in Zhongshan, a large district town in the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong.
People traveled for hours, mainly on buses, to attend the screening day last Thursday, where 108 patients were screened for suitability for life-changing surgery. As a result, around 80 patients were eligible and are currently going through the process of surgery, recovery and returning home.
It’s an unfortunate fact of some medical missions that a number of children are turned away due to a variety of reasons, the most common being age – they are too young for surgery and must wait until next time. But at least the families depart with firm hopes that they will be chosen next time.
The combined Chinese and international team of volunteers have been fortunate to work in the brand new district hospital, officially opened on screening day just in time for our current mission, unhindered by the rain that has poured day and night since we arrived.
This medical mission is part of the ongoing 20th anniversary celebrations of Beam International Foundation, highlighting the achievements of two decades of Chinese and international cooperation to achieve magnificent results for countless thousands of children and their families across the country.
October 2011, Zhongshan, Guangdong
Peter Stuckings, Photographer