Earlier this year, Speech Therapist Marissa Habeshy shared her experiences as part of a medical mission to China, working with children with cleft lip and palate. We are so proud of Marissa and her passion for helping children – not just in our area, but around the world – improve their speech. She will travel again soon, this time to Kabankalan, Negros, Philippines from January 27th – February 9th as a team member with International Children’s Surgical Foundation (ICSF).
The ICSF surgical team provide cleft lip and palate surgical repairs, completely free of charge, to children and adults. On each of these medical missions, the surgeon performs 50-60 surgeries over two weeks while a team of three speech therapists provide intensive speech therapy to patients who previously had palate surgery by the ICSF team. This intensive therapy includes twice-daily therapy sessions for up to eleven days.
Many of the patients will be teenagers and young adults who have never received any medical assistance with cleft lip and palate. Speech therapy for these patients will involve teaching them how to say sounds correctly, allowing them to communicate with their families, peers, teachers, and members of their community, which will assist them in developing social relationships and open up opportunities in jobs and schooling.
Many of our parents and patients have expressed an interest in Marissa’s work and wondered how they can support the team. If you would like to contribute to the mission, here are some ways you can help:
Material Donations (new or gently used):
- MEMORY games and small puzzles
- Small note pads, pencils and pencil sharpeners, small boxes of crayons
- Jewelry, hair ribbons
- Small cars and trucks (such as Matchbox)
- Beanie baby-sized plush toys
- Children’s books (paperbacks are best)
A note on books: Picture books about animals, weather, the ABC’s, dinosaurs, and princesses are best; older kids also like non-fiction science or atlases. Please avoid books specific to our western lifestyle, such as books about dishwashers, washers, airports, train stations, etc.
All donations are tax-deductible donation and can be applied to team travel and other costs of providing this life-changing surgery. For reference, it costs approximately $250 to fund one child’s surgery and $1000 for each team member’s travel. All ICSF team members are volunteers and are entirely self-funded.
Please contact Marissa by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to support the mission or for more information. You can also follow Marissa’s trip at her new blog, marissahabeshy.wordpress.com, where she will post mission updates and progress!
Thank you for your prayers and support – words cannot begin to say what it means to the children and families with cleft lip and palate in the Philippines!
AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support ICSF every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to ICSF. To support ICSF in this way, simply visit smile.amazon.com, search for “International Children’s Surgical Foundation” and select ICSF as your charity.