Mission to PASAY 2013


Helping Children Smile Inc. conducted a successful cleft surgery mission to the Philippines in February 2013. The team travelled to Pasay City and conducted the mission at Pasay City General Hospital. We were kindly supported by staff from the hospital and also from the Vice Mayor’s office.

The team consisted of Dr Kim Fuller, Dr Damian Castenelli, Prof Frank Kimble, Dr Siddharth Karanth, Nurses Kate Rodgers, Tracey Madden, Ruth Goodchild, Erin McIntosh, Glenn Cartwright, Leanne Schubert, Andrew Bruce, Nicky Johnson and Bernice McLennan. Many team members were from Queensland with remaining members from Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.

Mr Geoff Earle from Terrace Travel, Brisbane as usual did a fantastic job in arranging our connecting flights with Qantas from Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane to Manila.

We were met at Manila Airport by a group of people who assisted our smooth passage through the airport with our large amount of luggage to our waiting transport to take us to Pasay on Saturday evening.

Sunday morning we arrived at the Hospital at 10am to commence preparing the operating theatre and recovery rooms for surgery to commence on the following Monday morning. Screening began and as usual the waiting room at the hospital was full of children and their parents.

Bernice McLennan and Andrew Bruce and other volunteer nurses from Pasay Hospital saw to the registrations of the patients and facilitated their assessment by the Anesthetists and Surgeons for planning the week’s operation lists.

A total of 52 patients were screened and sadly, as always happens, some of the patients were not suitable for cleft surgery.

All surgery went smoothly and by the end of the week we had operated on forty children, which had changed their life and that of their families. These children will now be able to go to school, find employment and augment the family income.

On arrival back in Australia we immediately commenced arranging the 2014 mission to Legazpi, south Luzon.


Jenica had a bilateral cleft lip with an excoriated section on the lip tissue which oozed blood. She always wore a mask when in public. Thanks to surgery provided by Helping Children Smile INC, Jenica now no longer wears a mask in public, Jenica wears a beautiful smile.

Jenica at the post operative check-up clinic with her mum and Kate Rogers one of the nurses from Helping Children Smile.

Helping Children Smile Inc - Jenica After Surgery

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Balik Ngiti - Restore the smile

Balil Ngiti! in Filipino mean to restore the smile.