2016 Faces of Tomorrow Bohol, Philippines:
On February 10th, 2016 our Faces of Tomorrow team embarked on our 10 day mission to MMG Bohol Cooperative Hospital in Bohol, Philippines. Months of logistical planning took place in order to get a medical team and three operating rooms worth of supplies halfway around the world. Faces of Tomorrow is extremely grateful to Senator Nancy Binay’s office and the San Francisco Philippine Consulate General for their help navigating through the paperwork process so that we were able to help the precious children of the Philippines. We had an unprecedented partnership with Abounding in Love organization who recruited patients in preparation of our arrival as well as supplied food and transportation for our patients and their families. Upon arriving we received a warm welcome from the staff of MMG Bohol Cooperative Hospital and was one of the best collaboration that we’ve had the pleasure of having. Congressman Aris Aumentado, City Mayor John Geesnell Yap II, and City Vice Mayor Jose Antonia Veloso as well as the hospital warmly welcomed our team upon arriving in Bohol.
There were 29 volunteers that joined the Faces of Tomorrow mission traveling from California, Ohio, Tennessee, and Romania. We brought 28 large duffel bags of medical supplies, along with toys and handmade blankets donated and made by our young Faces of Tomorrow supporters. The toys and blankets were a hit with our patients because the majority of them come from families, who earn the equivalent of $1-2 dollars per day. We also joined efforts with another organization called Abounding in Love, which is also another US based non-profit that helped provide translators, food, shelter, and toys for the mission. They are also helping some of our patients families by providing opportunities for us to donate, so the children will receive adequate nutrition. In this way, even though Faces of Tomorrow has completed this mission, the patients and their families continue to get support. Another unique aspect of this years mission was we assigned a dedicated media team and utilized social media on Facebook, so our donors and supporters could follow us with updates, videos, and documentaries. The goal was to bring all of FOTs donors and supporters on our mission with us and experience what we were experiencing. You can check out our Facebook page, where we continue to receive regular updates from our patients
During the 10 days our three surgical teams provided 74 life changing surgeries for 56 patients. Our media team decided to document the stories of three of our patients and travelled across Bohol and even hiked through the rural jungles, so we can experience and see the lives of our patients. On day three our schedule was booked and we had two teenage patients come in that needed life changing surgeries. One had dropped out of school for being ridiculed by his peers because of his cleft. Dr. Brian Rubinstein was given the task to tell these young men that there wasn’t room on our schedule. For those of us who know Dr. Rubinstein and the volunteers of FOT that didn’t go according to plan.
Amongst all of our amazing patients and their stories there was one little 3 year old girl that stood out, Diana Rose. On our first day of surgeries one of our volunteers noticed a cute little girl as he walked into the hospital. She wasn’t there for our intake day and our teams were getting ready to start the weeks mission. The schedule was full with 53 patients at the time and we had already chosen the children to provide the surgeries for the week. However, Diana Rose’s cousin Ann found one of our media team Chris Nunn, who was one of our “Join Faces of Tomorrow” auction winners at last years charity golf tournament and told him her story. Diana Rose had been abandoned by her parents because of her cleft and she was being raised by her cousin, Aunt, and Uncle. There was no documentation of her birth and she could not attend school because she was a child that did not exist. This beautiful little girl, who loves to read, listen, dance, and sing to Taylor Swift, and play dress up like all little girls, did not exist. Our volunteer went upstairs and told Diana Rose’s story to the team, where there was a unanimous decision amongst our team members to help change her life.
The 2016 Faces of Tomorrow Bohol, Philippines medical mission was a huge success. Thank you to our Philippine counter parts from MMG Bohol Cooperative Hospital, volunteers from Abounding in Love, and Charina Asunto. A very special thank you to all of our FOT volunteers, donors, and supporters because without you, we would not be able to provide these life changing surgeries for these children around the world. You are helping us change a child’s life one smile at a time.