We met Ley during our first mission to Wenzhou China in 2008. She was an adorable 6 year old girl born with a cleft lip and palate. The minute Ley walked into the Alliance for Smiles clinic, with her easy smile and warm nature, she found her way into the hearts of the whole team.
Ley was born in 2001 in a small village outside of Wenzhou. When her parents discovered that she was born with a cleft they cried and were distraught. They knew that others would ridicule her and may not accept her. Many of their relatives even suggested that they abandoned Ley and leave her to die!
They kept her away from her own reflection and did not have any mirrors in the house. She had no friends, was shy and self-abased. Her parents loved their daughter dearly, but they knew they couldn’t help her because the operation would be too expensive.
Her parents were overjoyed at their luck when they heard about Alliance for Smiles providing free surgeries in Wenzhou. And so Ley’s parents brought her to the clinic, where she received the first of many surgeries she would need.
Just look at her indomitable spirit – even with a cleft lip. We knew we had to help her from the second we met her.
Stay tuned for more in Part 2 of this story next week!