I have participated in over 30 surgical outreaches to 8 different locations throughout the world. Last year Alora touched me and the members of our team is ways that no other patient has ever affected us.
Alora was born with a Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate. She had a lip repair as a child and never had her palate repaired. Her speech was not intelligible.
Because of her appearance she had few friends. She wondered why God had tested her in this way.
The entire team of surgeons met and struggled with how to help Alora. Was there a way to restore her in only one week? In the US we would have orthodontists work with the patient for a year or more, just to get her ready for one of many surgeries. This option was not available in the Philippines.
We finally decided to repair her palate and align her teeth in one surgery. This would mean sacrificing some teeth, but the final outcome would be worth it. At a second surgery that week we would restore her lip. An ambitious goal, but worth it!
The second surgery was preformed with sedation without a general anesthetic. This protected her recently repaired palate from being injured by placing a breathing tube into her lungs.
When we left Alora looked amazing. Her life was changed. Maybe a husband and children were now in her future. After surgery it takes several months to know how the surgery would turn out. Imagine how it feels to see the long term result.
We look forward to seeing her in person. She may need another surgery to further help with her speech.