It's Never Too Late To Transform a Life.

Australian Nurse, Rinnah Fry.

How do you describe what it is like to volunteer with Operation Smile?  How can you condense the amazing life changing transformations that occur down to talk about only one or two?  Well I am going to try. 

I am a paediatric nurse in Rockhampton, Queensland so absolutely love looking after and caring for children.  There are many children that you just fall in love with whilst you are on mission with Operation Smile.  I looked after one little baby the day of her surgery and it took us a while to get her post-operative pain under control.  I spent a lot of time with her and her family that afternoon doing all I could to assist.  When I returned to the ward the following morning her mother came straight up to me and handed over her beautiful little baby for a cuddle – peaceful and quietly sleeping - pain free.  The little bubba woke and looked at me but settled back on my shoulder and continued to sleep.   I loved the cuddle and couldn’t quite bring myself to hand her back straight away so I attended to ward rounds with this beautiful little baby up on my shoulder sound asleep.  I am not sure what was being said but there was lot of conversation generated and a few laughs between the other patients at me doing all I could do to take notes whilst cuddling this beautiful child.

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However, during my recent Operation Smile mission in Haldia, India it was a very quiet 45-year-old woman that stole my heart.  As I looked around the room on the night she was admitted (pre-surgery) I remember seeing her sitting on her bed just quietly looking around.  She had no family with her, which was unusual as every other patient had 4-5 family members with them.  I took a translator with me and went up to her and introduced myself.  Through translation I learnt that she was not nervous at all about her surgery the next day but really excited and so thankful to be there and to have this opportunity to “fix her lip”.  She looked at the patient next to her and shed a tear as she informed me that “her lip will be closed like that tomorrow”.  Just because she was unable to access medical care and treatment, she has had to live with a cleft lip for 45 years - well that just about broke me.  It is because of this amazing woman that I love volunteering with Operation Smile.  While she has had to endure a lifetime of difficulty and shame Operation Smile is working to reach as many people as possible so that this is not the story for so many others.

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"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