Xinie’s family came from Danglas in the Philippines, a very remote town about 140 miles away from Baguio, the nearest city. Her mother, is 19 years old and dependent on Xinie’s grandmother who takes care of her five children: including Xinie’s mother.
When Xinie was born last October 20, 2010 with a cleft lip, the family didn’t even think of getting her cleft repaired. With their current economic status, they had given up hope of cleft surgery; they knew that such an operation would cost them more than they could hope to afford. Last year, they came across Jerry Languisan, one of Project Luke’s community volunteers. Jerry told them that he would bring Xinie to Baguio for surgery. But with a meager family income, they knew that that they won’t be able to shoulder the travel and food expenses they would be incurring. The family told the volunteer that they would still have to save enough money to cover the expenses of their travel.
Some months later Jerry went to Baguio to assist some cataract patients, he mentioned the case and estimated that the family would be needing around Php4,000.00 to come to Baguio. Luckily, Project Luke had just received a grant from Smile Train; Jerry visited the family in Danglas and told them the good news –Xinie didn’t have to wait for months for the operation.
Last May, together with her mother and grandmother, Xinie begin her 7-hour trip to Baguio for the first time. She received surgery from Dr. Dennis Dominguez at Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital. While waiting for her followup, the family said that they had been cutting down on food so they could still have money for bus fare when they go home — even the Xinie’s milk formula had been sacrificed. Project Luke decided to cover their food for their remaining stay at the hospital. The grandmother keep on thanking Smile Train and Project Luke, and to pay forward what blessings she had received now, she hopes and prays that someday Xinie would become a productive citizen.
Project Luke has been a partner since 2008, and received a Smile Grant in September 2010–which funded the travel for Xinie’s family. They have been recently awarded a grant for speech therapy programs, which will allow Project Luke social workers to provide basic speech therapy for Smile Train patients.