A Magical Mission: Ky Le Lights Up Vietnam for Volunteer Team

At Operation Smile’s recent mission in Hue, Vietnam in April, 2016, volunteer doctors and nurses performed live-changing surgeries on 90 patients. We would love to share a story about a very special little boy that we met.
Many children were scared or shy when they arrived at the hospital on the day of the surgeries, but this little boy, named Ky Le, was not. Despite having been born with a cleft lip and palate, he was a bright and optimistic little boy. Our volunteers were delighted to learn that his name translates into English as “Magical”!

Not a moment had gone by before the team discovered that he really loved to sing! Volunteer nurse Clare told us that at the screening session, before the surgeries began, Magical actually grabbed the microphone that staff were using, and despite the challenges associated with the hole in the roof of his mouth, gave it his all with a song. He got everyone up to join him in a happy dance. “Everyone was fair game on the floorshow. You have no idea the impact that made on our team, everyone got involved, there was much dancing, laughter and frivolity, and it was just beautiful to see”, said Clare. “This young man certainly had a magical effect on all of us.”

Carmel, another volunteer at the mission, described how throughout the coming days, Magical just mysteriously appeared in everyone’s photos and pursued the microphone to continue entertaining the team. “He has certainly left a footprint on all our hearts…as have many others”.

Ky Le, or Magical, as he will always be remember to our team, has been given something new to sing and dance about. He was the bravest of little boys through his surgery, and is now at home with his very happy grandmother. Magical is just one of the many children, thanks to the work of Operation Smile, who can look forward to living a happy and normal life, free from the risks and stigma of cleft lip and cleft palate.


Thank you, Magical, for making us smile! And thank you, our friends, supporters and volunteers, for making such a happy story possible!

"We strive for a world where no child suffers the risks and uncertainties of a facial deformity."

- Richard Lewandowski, Plastic Surgeon, Co-Founder Operation Smile Australia