Cleft lip and cleft palate, also known as orofacial cleft, is a group of conditions that includes cleft lip, cleft palate, or both together. They are a type of birth defect. These birth defect while we were in development during the pregnancy phase.
Cleft lip is a split on the upper lip, and it looks like a gap in the skin. A cleft palate, that can be associated, is a split on the roof of the mouth. They happen because of genetic and environmental factors, which cause inexistence of enough tissue in our mouth to join normally. These defects lead us to a lot of dental and hearing problems, as well as difficulties in eating and speaking. Low self-esteem and depression for being so different from everyone else, are common feelings we have in school and that we try to struggle every day.
However, we believe we were born this way for a reason! These defects are correctable via corrective surgeries, and we are among the lucky ones as we were selected by Ronald McDonald House Charities Malaysia (RMHC Malaysia) to receive their full financial support for me to undergo my series of surgeries and treatments, under the Gift of Smile program. We are definitely grateful to RMHC Malaysia to be the sponsorship recipients which allow us to face people and smile confidently while leading a normal life and doing anything we like.
Gift of Smile by RMHC Malaysia provides the opportunity for children born with cleft lip and palate to undergo the corrective surgeries at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) and other partnering hospitals in other regions. RMHC Malaysia realised that children born with the defect are huge in number as the statistics show that a cleft lip and palate defect child is born in every 700 births in Malaysia.
We are grateful to be together with RMHC Malaysia to reach to all Malaysians to help us in our effort to bring back the smile in children that are born like us, to restore their confidence and ability to lead normal lives as healthy and happy adults.
Cleft lip and palate is a correctable defect! It should not be left untreated! Children left with untreated cleft lip and palate may live with speech impairment, eating and drinking difficulty and may be affected psychologically.
This programme consists of 2 stages:
- Involving corrective surgery of cleft lip and palate in the initial stage.
- The surgery is fully supported by RMHC Malaysia.
- Accommodation and transportation are also supported by RMHC for families who had to travel long distance.Stage 2:
- Exclusive for children that have undergone Stage 1 corrective surgery on cleft lip and palate in the period of 5 years prior.
- Orthodontics and jawbone surgery is also supported by RMHC Malaysia at the partnering hospital(s).
Since the inception of this programme in 2004, more than 450 children have undergone corrective surgery that involved almost RM5 million. Still, 1 in every 700 new-born babies, in Malaysia, are born with cleft lip and palate. Thus, there are a lot of children out there who need the support for corrective surgeries, to allow them to have the gift of smile, to live a normal, healthy and happy future.
We want to impact the lives of hundreds of children by providing full funding for their mandatory first-level surgery at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM).
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Malaysia was established in February 1990 as a non-profit organization with the mission to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of under-privileged children in Malaysia. In the last 29 years, RMHC Malaysia has positively impacted more than 20,000 children’s lives in the areas of Health, Education and Welfare with funding in excess of RM 16 million.
RMHC Malaysia operates four main programs in supporting their core pillars of Health, Education and Welfare. These programs are Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Sensory Room, Gift of Smile and the Back to School packs.
RMHC Malaysia funds these programs through the generosity of individual donors through our coin-boxes located at McDonald’s Restaurants and also from corporate sponsorship/donations.
1. Ronald McDonald House – RMHC builds accommodation in hospital to help keeping families with critically ill children together and near the care and resources they need.
Many families travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children – a long time to be away or to divide a family. And, for children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having mom and dad close by for love and support. When your child is sick, you want the best care possible – even if it is hundreds or thousands of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to access specialized medical treatment by providing a place to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost. We believe families are stronger when they are together, which helps in the healing process.
2. Ronald McDonald Sensory Room – RMHC helps children with a variety of disabilities, disorders and conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual & multiple disabilities.
RMHC provides multi-sensory facilities to more than 30 special schools and care centers nationwide for children with developmental disabilities, especially those who have sensory processing issues, including autism and other disabilities. Multi-sensory intervention is helpful in decreasing disrupting behaviors in individuals with autism.
3. Gift of Smile – RMHC provides financial support to children born with cleft lip and palate to get access to corrective surgeries needed.
Cleft lip can be caused by an improper formation of the lips or mouth of a baby when still in the mother's womb during pregnancy. A baby may be born with a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. These can be repaired using surgical methods to improve the child’s ability to eat, speak and hear normally and to achieve a normal facial appearance.
4. Back to School Packs – Annually, RMHC helps children from poor families with school necessities for their new schooling year.
The Back to School Pack program has proven to relieve parents from the financial commitment required to purchase school necessities, improve school attendance among poor students, boost their confidence, and allow them to reach their full potential on various activities.