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Operation Smile and The Hope it Gives to Special Kids
Whenever I see a child frowning or with a sad face, I become disturbed also. I am thinking many things; maybe the child is hungry or the mother or father are working or his/her toys are missing or somebody stole it.
But there's a deep explanation why some child cannot smile. Smiling requires only seven facial muscles but when your are sad or frowning, it takes many muscles on your face to do it. Or a child has a missing part in his/her face that's why he/she cannot smile.
Medical experts explain that Moebius Syndrome is a rare congenital condition among children. I finally realized that infants are always urged to smile by their parents in the early months. If you can see your child not reacting to what you are showing to make him/her smile, then it is because of the syndrome.
Masklike expression stemmed from two classinc features of the syndrome: the absence or incomplete development of the sixth cranial nerve, which gives lateral eye movement, and the seventh cranial nerve, which activates facial expressions.
Operations require two intricate procedures, one from each side of the face. Thigh muscles are transplanted by using the fifth cranial nerve that transmit impulses for chewing and biting. The procedure was used by the renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Ronald M. Zuker in the late 90s in Toronto, Canada. His method of attaching the muscle also improved the child's lip closure and word pronunciation. After six weeks of operation, a child can give his/her parents and friends a real smile.
A different smile
It was in 1982 when Bill and Cathy Magee, plastic surgeon and nurse respectively, visited the Philippines as medical volunteers, they've seen many children with facial deformities or inborn deformities like cleft lips, cleft palates, and other life-altering deformities, their lives was totally changed.
Because of pity , that these children will not be able to have a full smile when they grow up and dedication to their chosen field, they formed the so-called Operation Smile.The Philippine government through the administrators and medical staff in the entire island nation received the program enthusiastically. Many medical practitioners and social workers volunteered and even go to farflung barangays or barrios just to help recipients of the Operation Smile.
To date, there are 41 nations with overwhelming numbers of volunteers that are embracing the works of Operation Smile.
So, stop frowning. Even though problems of varying degrees may try to topple your courage and perseverance, don't show it on your face. Admitting defeat is not the answer. Maybe, I am facing more problems than you do.
Smile, though our hearts are aching.