Throughout 2014, Mölnlycke Health Care has been celebrating ten years of its relationship with Operation Smile, the charity which provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe.
As part of Mölnlycke Health Care's support this year, the company donated 50% of the funding to support a mission in Fortaleza, Brazil, in September, where 84 patients received life-changing cleft palate and cleft lip surgery.
Children with cleft lip or cleft palates have problems eating, drinking, speaking and socialising. The World Health Organisation estimates that roughly 5,000 babies are born each year with cleft problems in Brazil. In cities, there are treatment facilities, but in more remote areas it is very difficult for families to get surgery for their child.
A smile to talk about
During the mission in September, as well as operating on 84 new patients, the team also carried out post-operative checks on a number of former patients.
One of these was eight-year-old Talita. In 2010, she received cleft lip surgery from Operation Smile, followed by cleft palate surgery in 2012, which was funded by Mölnlycke Health Care. Thanks to the surgery, Talita's speech has improved out of all recommendation and she now loves going to school with her classmates.
Talita – before and after her cleft lip surgery
Beyond financial support
As well as funding missions, the company donates almost 250,000 pairs of Biogel® surgical gloves and 10,000 wound care products every year. Staff can also volunteer to take part in a mission. So far, over 30 employees have helped to restore smiles on faces, everywhere from Bolivia to India.
Helene Fonteix, Trays and Drapes Manager, volunteered on an Operation Smile mission a couple of years ago. It was an experience that she will never forget:
"With Operation Smile, we give time, attention to detail and comfort to the children going through an operation. As a volunteer, you share a human experience that will affect every day of your working career. The children we help will remember it every minute of their lives."
How you can help
Operation Smile has offices worldwide. You can help restore kids' smiles through volunteering or raising funds for Operation Smile in your region. Or visit the Operation Smile home page.