Some heroes don’t wear capes; they wear a doctor’s coat. If you don’t believe this, or you think it’s an exaggeration, then stick around because the story of Talita will move you to tears. A recent video shows the little girl from Brazil undergoing cleft lip surgery and then seeing herself for the first time after recovery. It’s a reminder that smiles are one of the most precious things that we take for granted.
The video features David Chong, a plastic surgeon from Australia who volunteers around the world to bring facial and skull surgeries to children who need it the most. In the video, he brings us the story of Talita, a young girl who was born with a cleft palate and whose family was too poor to afford the surgery to fix it.
When left untreated, a cleft lip can leave a child chained to a lifetime of difficulties including speech impediments and self-esteem issues. The surgery required to fix a cleft lip is simple and relatively risk-free, which is why the organization Operation Smile, where Dr. Chong volunteers, has made it their mission to provide free surgery to children who need it around the world.
“Operation Smile’s family of medical volunteers, donors and staff are committed to not only reaching patients but breaking down obstacles to surgery through education, training, medical diplomacy and advocacy,” reads their website, operationsmile.org. “We do that by working together with government agencies, local health systems, non-profit organizations and any like-minded partners to deliver care. All patients deserve comprehensive health care and a chance for greater well-being.”
The video was first uploaded in 2010, but recently it has been making the rounds online again, reducing users online to a puddle of emotions. Some users shared how moved they were, and others shared their personal experiences with having a cleft lip, or having a child with a cleft lip, and what a difference the surgery truly makes in someone’s life.
“It didn’t seem she was told her whole life she was a princess. That she was coddled and told she was special and she should have gotten a better lot in life,” wrote Reddit user compto35.
“As someone who has been affected by a cleft palate and, as a result, has come to be pretty knowledgeable about Operation Smile, I urge everyone who had an emotional reaction to this video to help support Operation Smile and all of the wonderful things they do,” said user IHSV1855.