Operation Smile to the Rescue; “ Remarkable Transformation”

 

Amazing transformation:  This little 'thumbs up' girl is 3 year-old Tiena Mangoo, home on Christmas Island after surgery, flanked by her mother on the left and PIMA volunteer surgeon Dr. Lydia Lam, who was on the island in late February helping other children.

Amazing transformation: This little ‘thumbs up’ girl is 3 year-old Tiena Mangoo, home on Christmas Island after surgery, flanked by her mother on the left and PIMA volunteer surgeon Dr. Lydia Lam, who was on the island in late February helping other children.

The lives of three little children from an isolated island in the Central Pacific have been remarkably transformed for the better, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Operation Smile, Shriner’s Hospital of Los Angeles, PIMA and Mending Kids International of Burbank, California.

With little hope of help on the island called Teraina, mothers of the three children came by boat late last year to Christmas Island seeking help for their children from our Pacific Islands Medical Aid pediatrics team, headed by Dr. Kathleen Smith of La Canada, California.

Handsome lad, six year-old Nonoa Neeti poses with his father after returning home to Christmas Island last month, and after cleft surgery repaired his upper lip.

Handsome lad, six year-old Nonoa Neeti poses with his father after returning home to Christmas Island last month, and after cleft surgery repaired his upper lip.

With everyone’s help, the children were accepted for surgery by Operation Smile’s Dr. William Magee at Shriner’s Hospital. Mending Kids arranged for transportation and pre and post-operative care and the children were returned to Christmas Island in late February following what was described as remarkably successful surgery.

Little Geneview Jim is at home now on Christmas Island with his brother after cleft palate surgery at Shriner's Hospital in Los Angeles.

Little Geneview Jim is at home now on Christmas Island with his brother after cleft palate surgery at Shriner’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

Six year-old Nanoa Neeti will no longer be an outcast in his small village after successful cleft lip surgery; little three year-old Tiena Mangoo’s mother cannot stop crying with joy over her daughter’s transformation as the result of successful cleft lip and palate surgery; and one-year-old Geneview Jim will now be able to speak following successful cleft palate surgery.

All that remains now is for the children and their parents to wait for the next boat from Christmas Island to Teraina, a 340-mile voyage home.

Our Heartfelt Thanks Go To…

Gordon West of Gordon West Radio School in Costa Mesa, California for providing a replacement transceiver for the nurse’s clinic on the remote Island of Teraina in Kiribati so that she can now successfully communicate with the hospital and doctor on Christmas Island.

Our good friend Gordon originally installed the communications system between Christmas Island and the outer islands of Teraina and Tabuaeran several years ago. Thank you, Gordon!

Barbara and Willis Preston, owners of Allstate Bio-Medical Systems in Tyler, Texas, for donating more X-ray film and chemicals for the X-ray darkroom at little Ronton Hospital on Christmas Island…Which is a facility they personally set up on the island four years ago.

Thanks Barbara and Willis!