Sunday, January 27, 2013

Adventures in Strength

I began this post with the intention of writing about how tough week 5 has been post rotator cuff/SAD surgery. how it has challenged me to be strong and push forward despite an increase in pain as we progress to assisted passive range of motion. That WAS my intent. Then my son brought yesterday's mail in. In it a hand stamped letter from Ethiopia with a childish scrawl under the return address. My husband laughed and said he couldn't wait to open that and see what scam laid inside. I asked who it was from, he said on the back it mentioned Operation Smile. Hearing that I asked for the letter. Operation Smile is an organization the Close To My Heart supports. They are a foundation that sends medical teams to third world countries to repair cleft palates on children, restoring their smiles and changing their lives in the process. 

This particular letter contained a handwritten thank you note and it's English translation, from Solomon, an 11 yr old Ethiopian boy. He endured years of teasing by other children but his family could not afford such an operation. When his father heard that OS was coming to Ethiopia, he brought him to that city to get his lips fixed. After his surgery, Solomon felt like a better person and started his new life, not having anything to be ashamed of anymore. He dreams of becoming a doctor someday so he can help others the way he was helped. A before photo showed him and his expression looked so sad but his after photo showed a beautiful beaming smile and sparkle in his eyes. It brought tears to my eyes.

You see when you purchase Close To My Heart products through my website, you are asked if you wanted to round up for Operation Smile. How many times are we asked to do this? It may be just small change to round up. Does it make a difference? Well here is proof that it does. 

I was so excited when the senior executive team of CTMH visited Omaha for Leadershare conference last spring. We held an OS auction and I made 4 items to be auctioned. One item brought it $100 and the others $50-$80 each. That's enough for surgery for one child and help towards a second. That made this personal. Then I got the letter, that really reinforced what a wonderful gift just rounding up small amounts is. It adds up and a child's self esteem and hope are restored. Powerful. 

So the strength in this post is really about the strength of these children prior to surgery and how they carry on despite the teasing and ridicule they experience. They are amazing. It warms my heart to see their big smiles after their cleft palate repairs. So when you are prompted to round up on your order, don't bypass that opportunity to make a difference. So here's to Solomon, may you have a bright future! 

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