Smile Train Car Delivers More Than Just Patients

A true Smile Train family after one of their sons received free cleft lip surgery

Karnataka, India — Most children come to Smile Train for cleft surgery at around six years old — after they have already developed poor speaking habits trying to make themselves understood, and have already experienced more shame and suffering than any six–year–old should.

One little new-born boy who was born with a cleft lip in India will not have to be burdened with the suffering that so many children with clefts must go through. When he has grown large enough in just a few months he will receive his free surgery from Smile Train. This child was lucky to have met Smile Train the day he was born. In fact, he just happened to be born in a Smile Train car!

Smile Train patient Nitesh and his mother who gave birth to his brother the day of his cleft surgery

This little boy’s mother was rushed to the SDM Medical College just as his older brother, Nitesh, received free cleft surgery from Smile Train. Nitesh’s cleft lip surgery was performed at SDM Medical College. His mother — a caring, concerned, and very pregnant woman — wanted to be there for him during his surgery and decided to travel to the hospital, as well. However, Nitesh’s little brother had a schedule of his own. While waiting for Nitesh to recover from surgery, his mother went into labor. She was rushed to the delivery ward in one of the Smile Train cars donated by Tata Motors, and the baby was born before they reached the hospital!

Nitesh’s sutures were removed the next day, and he was able to join his mother and his baby brother in the maternal ward. Nitesh now has a beautiful smile, and in a few months, Nitesh’s new–born brother can receive his own free cleft surgery from Smile Train. For now, this family’s life is undoubtedly easier. They know that his cleft is not a curse, but something that is easily operable with a little help from Smile Train — and, of course, from our supporters who believe that every child should have the opportunity to lead a happy life.

There are so many reasons for Smile Train to work with local surgeons in the remote villages where these families live — but being able to help children as soon as we possibly can, and being able to save a family like Nitesh’s from suffering, has got to be one of the very best.