A Banner Year for Elizabeth

December 30, 2020 | Smile Train

The first months of 2020 were stressful for Maricel and Edward. Maricel was pregnant, and when the stay-at-home orders came down in Davao City, Philippines, they could think of little besides their unborn child's safety.

Elizabeth with a cleft lip

When the labor pains hit, the family left the house for the first time in weeks. At the hospital, a new fear hit the young couple – their baby was unexpectedly born with a cleft. Feeling that their daughter, Elizabeth, would start life with a disadvantage broke the couple's heart. "We wished we could give her a good life," said Maricel.

Seeking treatment for Elizabeth's condition in the middle of a pandemic turned out to be quite challenging. "I had to quit my job at a restaurant to take care of my newborn, and Edward's job as a driver was put to a halt for two months because of the city's lockdown," Marciel said. Given the situation, there was no extra money to pay hospitals and doctors. Everything went towards food and basic needs.

Elizabeth at Tebow Hospital

Thankfully, Maricel learned about Smile Train partner Tebow CURE through one of their neighbors, giving them a new sense of hope for their daughter's future.

Elizabeth at Tebow Hospital

Elizabeth received life-changing cleft surgery at no cost to the family, thanks to Smile Train's donors around the world!

Maricel and Edward left the hospital knowing that for all the difficulty and stress that 2020 brought, it was also the year that brought them their daughter and a surgery that will change her life forever.