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Year 2016

感人的微笑

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黎國偉,一個來自廣東懷集縣的活潑可愛小男孩,只見他不時地在媽媽的懷抱裡探頭探腦,你稍微給他一個鬼臉,他就會發出咯咯的笑聲,手舞足蹈,身邊父母臉上也洋溢著溫馨、幸福的笑意。

如果在一年前見到他們一家三口,那是完全不一樣的畫面,小男孩患有先天唇齶裂,吸吮及吞咽困難,每次餵奶喝水老是從鼻子裡冒出來、從嘴裡漏出來,食物和口水都流到臉上,因此而營養不良,面黃饑瘦,而且人很煩燥,整天啼哭不已,夫妻倆看在眼裡疼在心上,卻又無法可施,他倆都是從農村進城務工的打工者,微薄的收入根本無力支付昂貴的醫療費用,為此而愁眉不展,為孩子的健康和將來憂心忡忡,陰影籠罩在這個年輕小家庭上。

一個偶然的機會,在熱心人士的推薦下,小國偉的父母主動聯繫了封開湯國華醫院,並在逸傑國際慈善基金會工作人員的熱情幫助和安排下,於去年前往封開湯國華醫院接受了免費手術。手術很成功,如果不細心觀察,根本不會發現小國偉曾有面部缺陷。現在的小國偉可以與其它小朋友一樣正常吃飯正常生活,健康又活潑,夫妻倆也重獲生活信心,微笑重返他們的臉上。

在採訪的時候,小國偉父母多次表達對湯國華醫院及逸傑國際慈善基金會全體工作人員的感謝,除了悉心撫養小國偉成長之外,還會積極去宣傳微笑公益行動,以親身經歷去鼓勵唇齶裂患兒家庭保持積極樂觀心態,相信世界充滿愛,珍惜生命。

October 2016, Fengkai, Guangdong
Xie Zhen from CLP Group, Story Collector, China

 

Year 2015

What is really important in life?

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This was my first mission with Beam and I was so thrilled to be a part of this great cause. We often take what we have for granted and don‘t appreciate or realise what is really meaningful in life. We often seem to forget what life is really all about.

Seeing the joy and sense of accomplishment in the parent’s eyes, made this trip worthwhile. Seeing a grown-up man in his 50‘s smile and feel confident for the first time in his life made you think what a smile meant to him. Seeing the reaction of a mother when she saw her 6-month-old baby, gave her the hope and conviction that her baby would have a normal life, just like the rest of the kids in her village.

I listened to so many stories of struggle the families endured bringing their children to Liangshan for the hope and chance of a surgery which they would never be able to afford. It was obvious that most of these kids had never seen a doctor in their lives. I saw the daily struggle and hardship they went through in order to see their most beloved children smile again.

What is really important in life?

Thank you medical volunteers for your efforts and dedication. You are the real heroes. Thank you.

生命的意義

這是我第一次參加逸傑國際慈善基金會舉辦的醫療活動,我很高興能成為其中一份子。對於我們已經擁有的一切,我們總覺得理所當然,卻沒有心存感激,甚至沒有意識到,在生命裡對我們真正重要的是甚麼,我們似乎忘記了生命的意義。

看見父母如釋重負和喜悅的眼神,使這趟旅程一切都值得。當看到一個五十歲男人臉上的笑容,和他生命中第一次擁有的自信,會令你深思,一個簡單微笑對他意義有多重大。當目睹一個母親看見她六個月大的嬰兒接受手術治療後的反應,想著自己的孩子終於可以像村裡其他孩子一樣正常生活,你能夠感受到適切的手術治療所給予她的希望和信心。

我聽了很多關於這些家庭所經歷的困難和坎坷,為的就是把他們的兒女帶到凉山尋求免費手術治療,而這原本可能是他們一輩子都無法負擔的;甚至有些孩子可能在他們的一生中都從未看過醫生。為了讓孩子重現笑顏,這些貧困的家庭需要面對很多掙扎和痛苦。

生命中真正重要的,究竟是甚麼?

在此感謝醫療志願者們的努力和貢獻。 你們是真正的英雄! 謝謝!

July 2015, Liangshan, Sichuan
Hoss Vetry from The Ritz-Carlton – Sanya, Yalong Bay, Child Life Coordinator


My Trip to Fengkai

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Night was falling. We embarked on a journey to Fengkai, China to support Beam, an organization which offers free surgeries to children with cleft lips. It was a five-hour ride, and I was very excited for it was my first time there.

I embraced the morning with much excitement and eagerness. We arrived at the hospital and a crowd of reporters swarmed in as if we were some kind of movie stars. I felt as proud as a peacock to be part of this meaningful event. I was terrified to see hundreds of patients from miles away racing towards us. My heart sank as I saw the desperate looks of the poor children.

My major duties at the hospital were to play with the little children and distribute toys to them, bringing them joy and happiness. Their laughter warmed my heart. When they entered the operation room, I was as anxious as their parents, but seeing them return safely was a relief.

I spent my whole weekend there. Through this experience, I realized that we are very fortunate and we should volunteer more to help others in need.

夜幕低垂,我們正式啟程到封開參加逸傑基金會為唇齶裂兒童提供免費手術治療而舉辦的義工活動。旅程需時五小時,但我還是難掩飾興奮的心情,因這是我第一次到當地作義工服務。

早上,我懷著既興奮又雀躍的心情起床。當我們到達醫院的時候,一班傳媒從四方八面向我們衝來,好像我們是電影明星一樣,好不威風呢!我真的很榮幸能成為這有意義活動的一份子。可是,當我見到數以百計千里迢迢遠道而來的患童向我們跑來,而他們的臉上都充滿渴求的眼神,我的心便不禁痛起來。

在醫院裏,我的義工職責主要是負責逗小朋友玩及派玩具給他們,為他們帶來歡樂,而他們的笑聲也給我帶來溫暖。當他們進入手術室時,我就好像他們父母一樣擔心。當我看到他們平安歸來時,我便如悉重負。

我在封開渡過了一個有意義的週末。這次經歷令我體會到我有多幸運。因此我們應該多作義工幫助其他有需要的人。

October 2015, Fengkai, Guangdong
Ashley Tong, Student Volunteer, Hong Kong


The 1,000th Smile in Fengkai

Fengkai 2015_Pat 062 孔垂津_08Earlier this October, it’s the second time for the Kong family (孔家) to join our Fengkai Mission seeking free surgical treatment for their son Chui Jin (垂津).  In the 7th month of pregnancy, the couple were much shocked and helpless when the doctor said their child would have cleft lip and cleft palate.  When Chui Jin was just two months old last year, his parents already rushed to our medical mission but were sadly turned down because he was too young to receive the surgery then.

In 2015, having gotten a 10-day leave from work, the father Kong Wei Xin (孔維信) and mother Lu Yong Chan (呂永嬋) took Chui Jin to Tang Guo-hua Hospital again.  This little boy was eventually arranged for his first cleft surgery – also the 1,000th smile we created together with our volunteers throughout the past nine years in Fengkai, Guangdong. It is always not easy for us to mobilise volunteers around the world to organise each medical mission; it’s equally challenging for the needy parents to fight for suitable medical treatment for their children with clefts.  No matter what, none of us would give up on helping them BEAM again as their smiles are the best reward of everything, and we look forward to changing more lives with the support of you all in future.

才15個月大的垂津已經是第二次來到封開接受微笑行動的篩選了。垂津媽媽懷孕七個月時,醫生通知垂津的父母,小朋友有唇顎裂的情況,對當時的家長來說這是晴天霹靂的消息也聞所未聞,難免不知所措。去年徬徨之時有朋友介紹關於封開的活動,就把當時出生才兩個多月的孩子帶來,不過因為年紀太小,還不適合做手術。

這次垂津爸爸特意請了約10天的假,與太太一起帶兒子報名今年的活動,終於迎來了好消息,垂津獲安排在第3天下午做手術。這也剛好是Beam來到封開第9個年頭的第1,000台手術,意義重大。

家長不辭勞苦,帶着孩子奔走各地,只為了在能力範圍內為他們爭取最好的。雖然先天或環境因素有缺,但無論家長,小朋友或志願者從未放棄,千個孩子的微笑就是所有人最美的祝福和回報。

October 2015, Fengkai, Guangdong
Linda Wong from CLP Group, Story Collector, Hong Kong

 

“I have to carry on!”

627128948027524358The beautiful smiles we create count on the concerted efforts of each and every supporter. Our long-term volunteer Jenny Chadwick, who has just completed her sixth mission in Fengkai in October 2015, is definitely included.

A British teacher of the Chinese International School (CIS, 漢基國際學校) in Hong Kong, Jenny got to know Beam International Foundation (formerly named as “Operation Smile China Medical Mission”) 13 years ago.  “I was the Head of Year 8, and found it a worthy cause to help the needy children suffering from clefts, so we named it as the Year 8 charity then.”  She said a lot of things were done, such as organising the “Wear A Smile Day”, to raise over HK$100,000 in support of our medical service. Jenny also went for her first medical mission in Guangdong with five CIS students.“ I was so shocked that I just couldn’t believe some Chinese people didn’t have the money to do the surgery.  I told myself that I have to carry on!”  From then on, our yearly collaboration with CIS was initiated.

We change both smiles and lives of the needy patients through our medical mission, and Jenny believes that the more students who can have this life-changing experience the better.  Besides setting up the Smile Club with our Student Programme Leader Rachel Sutcliffe in CIS, Jenny is eager to arrange senior students to volunteer to our mission during the school’s Service Week because they can be part of a real team to contribute.  Having students helping in the operating theatre, ward and child life area this year, Jenny is proud of their performance throughout the mission indeed.

October 2015, Fengkai, Guangdong
Jenny Chadwick from Chinese International School, Child Life Coordinator, Hong Kong

 

Year 2014

Never too ‘old’ to smile

Florence Wang_FengkaiHis name is Li Peng, and at the age of sixteen he’s a little older than most of the other Beam applicants. This is something that he has evidently noticed, apparent in the slight flush to his cheeks and the nervous tremor in his voice. He seems a little reluctant at first to be interviewed, and more than slightly put off by the camera aimed at his direction. But with a little coaxing and a warm smile, he quickly comes out of his shell and his resilient, optimistic character shines through!

Li Peng has had a hard life, at least from our perspective. Born and raised in a small mountain town twenty-four hours (by bus) away from Fengkai County, he has since early childhood been the subject of endless taunts and ridicule from his peers due to his cleft lip. It even appears that he is somewhat of an embarrassment to his own family, who hide him away when they can and advise him to limit his public appearances. However, his cleft lip is rarely brought up at home and never mentioned in front of his grandparents, who seem to be in denial about the fact that he has a mild facial deformity!

“It’s understandable,” he says, a slight smile playing on his lips. “My mother is worried enough – constantly muttering to herself about how I’m supposed to marry and keep our family name alive with my condition. I wouldn’t want my grandparents involved, it would make things even worse!”

Despite an adolescent that is not exactly perfect, Li Peng has a sunny personality and is always looking on the bright side. He counts himself extremely lucky to be able to go to Fengkai, and very blessed to have been approved for the operation that will fix his cleft lip!

“I was so worried that I would be too ‘old’ to receive a surgery. I feel so fortunate to be able to have the operation, and I’m so excited to look in a mirror when it is over!” When asked what he plans on doing in the future, Li Peng had only one answer – he doesn’t mind what his job will eventually be (although he says it is more than likely that he will follow his father’s footsteps and become a farmer), as long as he is able to smile all day long.

October 2014, Fengkai, Guangdong
Florence Wang from Chinese International School, Patient Imaging Technician Assistant, Hong Kong

Changing a child’s life can change a family

Fengkai 201410_CIS volunteerThis patient and her grandparents are Fengkai locals. She had a bilateral complete cleft lip. The patient and her grandparents were waiting in the playroom for her cleft lip surgery when we interviewed them. She has not started school yet. Her parents were not with her because they had to go to work on her surgery day. Her grandparents admitted that sometimes they faced difficulties when taking care of her because of her cleft lip, as she drooled a lot, and it was not easy to hear what she was trying to say. Her grandparents said they were hopeful and excited for her surgery.

I think the trip was very meaningful. It gave me the opportunity to see children who were born with certain deformities and the situations of their families. These were the less fortunate families in China. They were mostly very poor and could not afford to pay for such surgeries in private hospitals to help their children. It made me realize how fortunate I am, and how I take too many things I have for granted. The trip also gave me the opportunity to see an actual surgery, a chance I may not receive again for the rest of my life. I was working as a translator in the recovery room (i.e. the room where patients were sent to immediately after surgeries for their vital signs to be measured). Working in the recovery room gave me the chance to see patients and their families’ reactions after going through surgeries. I was able to compare the differences in terms of appearance between pre-operation patients and post-operation patients. I think the surgeries were life changing for the patients and their families, as their cleft lips or palates could be fixed. They would no longer be labeled in society, and younger children would be able to correct their ways of speaking and to express themselves clearly.

October 2014, Fengkai, Guandong
Ellen Chan from Chinese International School, Recovery Room Assistant and Translator, Hong Kong

 

Year 2013

The surgeons are going to fix my face to help me look beautiful.

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My first mission is complete and it was an amazing experience. I felt very humbled to be involved with such a big international team with a wide variety of experience. I particularly enjoyed seeing how the Chinese culturally interact with their children with so much love and affection. Although there was a language barrier I was still able to share a joke and laugh with the families when their child did something funny. What really struck me was how appreciative that these families are for what we are doing for their child’s life. I had lots of fun getting to know the children in the play area and engaging them with different activities that some of them don’t normally get the chance to do.

One particular child really struck me when she started talking to her mother. It appeared that she was asking how to spell something and then she proceeded to write in Chinese on her picture I asked a translator if she could read what it said and what had been written was. ‘The surgeons are going to fix my face to help me look beautiful. Thank you’. It really hit me that these children don’t feel like they can fit in with the way they look and what she wrote has really stuck with me.

I am hoping to continue to do many more missions as a child life specialist.

October 2013, Fengkai, Guangdong
Vicki Brown, Child Life Specialist, UK