Smile Train Stories

Patient and Partner Stories from Smile Train's Work Around the World

Archive for November 2011

Never Not Funny Pardcast-a-Thon 2011 for Smile Train hopes to raise over $27,000!!

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Los Angeles, California — On Friday, Nov. 25 at 6p.m. PST, the 3rd Annual Never Not Funny Pardcast-a-Thon kicks off for 12 hours of comedy and helping kids a world away. Hosted by Jimmy Pardo, Matt Belknap and Pat Francis, the award winning podcast is gearing up for their biggest event yet at ACME Theatre in Los Angeles.

Pardcast-a-Thon 2011 banner

An annual comedy tour-de-force, this year’s Pardcast-a-Thon featurs a round-robin of over twenty all-star comedy guests including Andy Richter, Sarah Silverman, Greg Behrendt, Walter Koenig from “Star Trek” and other surprise guests. Host Jimmy Pardo was recently on Conan to promote the event as well.

We caught up with Jimmy to catch up on all things Pardcast before the big show.

Never Not Funny's Jimmy Pardo proudly supports Smile Train

How did the Pardcast-a-thon come about?
Honestly, we just decided one day that we wanted to do a crazy long version of our show to raise money for Smile Train. We had done a contest earlier where listeners could bid to be a guest on the show and that money also went to Smile Train. We basically said “Let’s do a juiced up version of both those things,” and the Pardcast-a-Thon was born.

What made you choose “Black Friday” for the event?
It made the most sense. People are in the giving spirit around the holidays and that 4 day weekend also allows for people to fly in for the event.

Why did you and your team choose Smile Train?
It was a perfect storm of events…on a Sunday, I saw an ad for Smile Train and donated that day. The next day, Pardcast-a-Thon co-host Pat Francis came up with the idea to do the aforementioned listener contest with money going to ST… the timing seemed too perfect, so I have made it my charity of choice.

What is the most memorable event that has happened during the last 2 Pardcast-a-thons?
People always seem to bring up Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” coming in for his segment and then not leaving. He just kept coming back in and each time was funnier than the next. Of course, getting the hourly updates of the donations coming in is actually the biggest highlight.

The Pardcast-a-thon started as a six hour event and then doubled to 12. What was the biggest challenge in making that switch?
It was actually a 9 hour event that jumped to 12 hours. The biggest challenge was/is finding more comics, actors or musicians who are in town on a holiday weekend.

The lines between standup and podcasts are blurring and there are many comedians vying for the title of longest standup performance and even longest podcast. Do you and your team at Never Not Funny have any goals for those titles?
We actually don’t. Our goal is to raise money for Smile Train and have fun along the way. As much as I love the sound of my own voice, even I think 12 hours is enough!

For those that aren’t in attendance, will there be a video broadcast to see all of the action or is it audio?
Of course, we stream live at www.pardcast.com. We received donations from all over the world last year. It’s great to be able to reach that many people at once and for such a great cause.

Without giving away your surprise guest list, is there anything listeners should expect this year?
Lots of talk about how tired we are at 4am.

What are your goals for this year’s Pardcast-a-thon?
We raised over $26,000 during last years event. According to telethon bylaws, we have to try and raise more than that. We are shooting for a realistic $27,000.

If you could meet any of the patients that you have helped, what would you say to them? How about children that are still waiting for surgery?
My guess is I would be so overcome with joy that I wouldn’t know what to say to a child that had it done. I think I would stress that no matter how they will appear with their new look, they were always beautiful and to never forget that!

A special thanks to Jimmy Pardo, Matt Belknap, Pat Francis, the Never Not Funny team, all of the celebrity guests, fans, and listeners of this year’s upcoming Pardcast-a-Thon!

Written by duncanquirksmiletrain

November 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Patient Stories

Abandoned, Rescued, and Saved Again

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Derhadun, India — After a long day’s work, Mr. Amarjeet Singh Narwal finally lay asleep on a cold, peaceful night. Around 3a.m., he was startled awake by a strange wailing outside. He threw on a coat and opened the door, where he found an infant wrapped in a dirty, tattered piece of cloth. He cradled the baby in his arms, assuming that the boy’s parents had abandoned their son at his door due to his cleft lip and palate.

Smile Train patient Krishna Narwal before cleft surgery

Amarjeet and his wife brought Krishna, as they named him, to Jankalayan Samiti, a local NGO, to see if they could help. The group provided the Narwals with food and clothes for the baby. The difficulty of feeding little Krishna left him underweight and suffering from a repeated cough and fever. Despite the help they received, when they learned that Krishna would also suffer from speech difficulties on top of his deformity, they feared that his young life and future would be full of despair and torment.

Smile Train Surgeon Dr. Dvivedi Examining Krishna

One day, the Himalayan Institute’s Smile Train team reached Panipat for a health camp. The members of Jankalyan Samiti contacted the team about the Narwals and Krishna’s treatment in great detail, providing a ray of hope. Amarjeet soon brought his 5-month-old son to Smile Train partner Himalayan Hospital (known locally as Jolly Grant Hospital). Further examinations at the hospital revealed along with a cleft lip and palate, Krishna also suffered from malnutrition and a skin infection. Seeing Krishna’s condition, the Smile Train team started the necessary antibiotic treatment and taught the Narwals proper feeding techniques, basic health care, and nutrition.

Smile Train patient Krishna Narwal after free surgery

The results of the treatment were fantastic and Krishna was soon ready for his free surgery. To top it all off, surgeon Dr. Sanjay Dvivedi convinced the management of the Himalayan Institute to financially support Krishna after his treatment. Dr. Dvivedi repaired Krishna’s cleft lip and nose free of charge, giving him a bright new smile. Krishna was soon discharged from the hospital with his relieved family and has been scheduled for free cleft palate surgery when he is 9 months old. Thanks to the expert Smile Train team at Himalayan Institute, the Narwals can look forward to a bright future for their new son.

Written by duncanquirksmiletrain

November 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Smile Train Partner Yemen Smile Pushes On Despite Crisis, Offers Hope

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Sana’a, Yemen — Smile Train partner Yemen Smile is facing what is perhaps the greatest challenge any Smile Train partner has faced. Our remarkable surgeon, Dr. Bona Lotha and his team, predominantly work in the capital of Sana’a, but also travel throughout the Arab world’s poorest country to host surgical cleft camps. Previously, we reported on Dr. Lotha’s team and their amazing ingenuity, as the turmoil in Yemen has deepened, the team has heroically continued to press on in ever worsening conditions.

Dr. Lotha and his anesthesiologist, Wahed, recently traveled back to the city of Yarim to provide more free cleft surgeries to children and sent us this email upon their return:

Just had a miraculous escape from our cleft camp this week in Yarim hospital where we operated on 12 cleft kids and during our time there a battle suddenly broke out between the rogue military units in Sana’a. We tried to rush back home but all roads to Sana’a were closed by the army and we got stuck in Yarim til yesterday night; this morning they had a 12 hour ceasefire and the army allowed the two of us to reach Sana’a by special security permission.

There is unrest all across Yemen.

We managed to complete till now a total number of 456 cleft surgeries(since Jan 2010) and will continue. The Jibla camp is postponed for now..work to resume when things calm down…only 12 kids could be operated over 3 days because of the crisis…

We are happy to be alive and our families are well and safe.”

Our deepest thanks and concerns to Dr. Lotha, Wahed, and the rest of his team for their incredible work and providing smiles and hope during such difficult times. Please keep our partners, patients, and their families, especially those whose countries are filled with political strife and turmoil, in your thoughts and prayers.

Written by duncanquirksmiletrain

November 14, 2011 at 10:23 am

Smile of the Week Obumneme Nwakpoke Update

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Smile Train Smile of the Week Obumneme Nwakpoke

Abuja, Nigeria — Two weeks ago, four-year-old Obumneme Nwakpoke was our Smile of the Week. Our local Smile Train partner Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital saw Obumneme’s “SOTW” pictures and recently reached out to us with a short update.

Obumneme was discharged a few days after his surgery and was brought home by his parents, Christopher and Grace. Obumneme is the second oldest of four, and his two brothers and sister were excited when he returned home, and even more so when they saw his new smile.

He has returned to his nursery school and his classmates no longer tease him about his lip. He’s making a lot of friends with his bright smile and happy, outgoing personality. While his parents were a little hesitant about what they let him eat when he first returned home, since he has healed, he has started eating his favorite food again: yams.

His parents wanted to thank the doctors, staff, donors, and everyone else who helped give Obumneme a new smile. On their behalf, and on behalf of all of our patients and their families, thank you to our wonderful partner doctors, hospital staff, and donors for giving so many children like Obumneme a second chance at life.

Written by duncanquirksmiletrain

November 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

In Their Own Words: Smile Train India Parents Speak

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Patna, Bihar, IndiaEveryday, thanks to our donors, Smile Train is able to change the lives of over 300 patients and their families. The translated stories below come directly from the parents of recent patients at Smile Train partner Rabia Basri Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.. Thank you to everyone who helps make changes like these happen everyday.

Kundan as told by his father:

Smile Train Cleft Patient Kundan

We were shocked at the birth of my son Kundan. Our grief was made worse because my mother refused to see him as her grandson. She said that he was the product of my past sins. As he got older, the kids in my village refused to play with him, saying that he was a dirty, evil boy. Kundan slowly started realizing that he was not like other kids. My wife and eventually my mother had accepted this as our fate. When we came to know about Smile Train and Rabia Basri Hospital, Patna, I decided to save money to get him to the hospital. There was stiff resistance in the family as it was presumed that God created him like this for a reason. I was adamant and refused to accept that he should suffer for things he hadn’t done. My wife and mother are very happy now. It is a new beginning for my son and I promise to send him to school and help give him a respectable position in society.”


Smile Train Patient SeemaSeema as told by her mother:

We are a very poor family. When my daughter Seema was born, instead of being happy, we were filled with sorrow after seeing her cleft lip. Sometimes, I started thinking of abandoning her to some ashram or at temple. I was worried about how she would get married or have a family when she grew up. My agony was further aggravated by village folks with the comments like these kinds of children bring bad fortune to the family. But being her mother, I couldn’t bare to do it and decided to look after her and kept on praying about her well-being. One fine day, a field officer from Rabia Basri Hospital came to our village and found us. I was very happy that God has listened to me. After the operation, I am very happy that my daughter will lead a normal life. Thank you all who made it possible.”


Smile Train Patient Sid KumarSid Kumar as told by his father, Rajnish Kumar:

When my son was born ,I was working in Gujarat. My father had a sweet shop in our village. When he got the news of the birth of my son he was so happy that he distributed all of the candy in the shop to everyone who was passing through that road. We he came to know the deformity of cleft lip in my son, he almost fainted. I was given the news of Sid’s birth but his cleft lip was kept secret from me. When I saved enough money to return home to see my son for the first time, I was shocked. Meanwhile, there was a camp of Rabia Basri hospital and Smile Train in Gopalganj that a neighbor knew of. I got the information and brought my son for the operation right away. After the operation, our family life has totally changed. I pray my son becomes a doctor so that he can also help those in need.”

Written by duncanquirksmiletrain

November 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

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