Ray and His Family Held Out Hope for 16 Years
When they heard about Smile Train, they knew they finally found what they were looking for
When little Ray was born with a cleft, it sent shockwaves through his family. No one was sure what to do, not even his mother, Mai.
For a long time, getting treatment was just a dream. He grew up used to food getting stuck in his palate when he ate and water coming out of his nose when he drank.
Struggling to speak was also just part of life. Despite all of Ray’s efforts, certain sounds seemed impossible to make. It was another addition to a long list of challenges to overcome. His mother feared for his future. What would he do if no one could understand him?
One thing his cleft never got in the way of was making friends. The other children in Ray’s village accepted and supported him wholeheartedly. And they never lost hope for him.
Their hope paid off when his family heard about Smile Train partner Benh Vien Nhi Dong I. There, Ray could receive the surgery he’d been dreaming of for free!
Family support and excitement fueled them through their long trip to the hospital. Knowing that he was in good hands let everyone finally breathe easy after 16 years.
A few hours later, Ray was on his way home with a healed cleft and a wide smile.
The surgery didn’t just leave a positive impact on Ray, but on the entire village. “We feel joy,” said Mai with a bright smile of her own. She took a photo of her son after his surgery and had it framed to celebrate. “His family and friends are all happy for him.”
Today, Ray smiles confidently, knowing that the first big step of his cleft journey is complete — and that Smile Train will be there for whatever comes next.
Help a cleft-affected family take the first step.