New Life of "Hare-lipped Baby"
Written By Yan Qianyun
Every morning, we greet our family members with smile, say good-bye to our neighbors and hello to our colleagues. You may not think of that it is very difficult for the patients with cleft lip and palate to show this most natural, warm and simple expression. For young patients with cleft lip and palate, commonly known as "Hare-lipped Baby", they don't even know: Why they smile so hard? Why people look at them with a little strange sight? Now, a change probably affecting the fate of the hare-lipped children is taking place quietly. 
In May, 2016
No. 1 Zhengzhou People’s Hospital in Henan Province in central China
At 7 o’clock in the morning when no medical workers are at work, three long rows of people have been lined up outside the operating room. They are all ordinary people coming from local and surrounding poor areas in Henan province and children stayed with their parents: some can walk by themselves, some are embraced in their mothers’ bosom. These children are born with cleft lip, known as hare-lipped babies. Hare-lipped babies rarely smile and it is not easy for them to breathe. In the process of growth, they are not only accompanied by the pain of chewing difficulties and language barriers, but also have to bear the strange sights from others. Natural defect not only makes hare-lipped babies closed and low self-esteem but often caused the pain for the whole family. Especially in some remote areas, the discrimination from the people around and family’s poverty resulted in the tragedy occurrence that infants with cleft lips and palates were abandoned.  
SSCLF - MaryKay Thanksgiving Public Welfare Fund joined hands with Smile Tomorrow Charity Foundation in launching "Hundred Percent Smile" national free operation tour, of which the first stop is Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province in central China. Taking full advantage of personal time, many medical experts from China, the United States, Britain, India, Singapore and other countries came to Zhengzhou to do free surgeries for 75 children screened out from more than 200 children with cleft lips and palates. Due to the fact that general anesthesia is needed for the surgery, there is a certain requirement for children’s weight and health status. In the process of screening the day before the operation, through careful inquiries and verification, Chinese and foreign medical experts determined the name list of the children who were appropriate for surgery. Today is the operation day, the young patients’ parents are full of expectations, looking forward to a miracle that will change the fate of their children.  
At 8:30 in the morning, the first hare-lipped baby lip was sent into the operation room. 
Time past fast in the operation room and people felt anxious while waiting outside it. Little Zi Jing (an alias) is a smiling girl with big eyes. She is aged only nine months old, not annoying people, but she is easy to lose temper when she drinks milk. The young mother told us, "Her baby has a gap on her lip. It’s difficult for Zi Jing to suck milk from the bottle by herself. I can only use the plastic bottle to squeeze milk into her mouth. And I'm afraid of choking her, so I doesn't dare to squeeze milk too quickly. My girl maybe is an acute child. She doesn’t feel happy when she drinks milk.” Her mother told me that Zi Jing is usually afraid of injections, now she is so young to receive general anesthesia and operation. Whenever thinking of this I will shed tears. But it is the operation that our whole family has been waiting for a long time......
Zi Jing’s reconstructive surgery went very smoothly. After a period of observation, Zi Jing returned to her mother's arms. Her mother's eyes never left the baby's face, as if it’s the first time for her to see her baby......
A pair of seven month twins look very pretty. Ke Xin (an alias) is elder sister, born with a gap on the upper lip. Of course she does not know what difference exists between herself and her younger sister. When stroking two sleeping babies’ faces, their mother always could not help shedding tears, "Since Ke Xin was born, I have not held the baby in my arms out to the public, afraid of hearing somebody’s joke. Without this operation, two sisters’ fate will be completely different.”
At the successful completion of the operation, a nurse appeared at the gate of the operation room with Ke Xin in her hands. Her parents were too excited to know what to do, just kept wiping tears, repeatedly said thank you......
Lowering her head is one thing a 4 year old Yu Hui (an alias) mostly loves to do. She was used to avoid the sight of others, and also used to use her toys to prevent others from seeing her own lips. When little companions played in the yard, she wanted to, but she did not and she had to quietly peek them playing through the window. Whenever the little companions around read the book aloud, she can only lower her head to hide herself to whisper...... Because she is a hare-lipped girl, she knows she is different from others, never think she can smile like others.
From the moment the babies were born, hare-lipped Babies and their parents have been looking forward to the occasion to change their children’s fate. Now it is not too long to wait. The reconstructive operation for 72 children are all successful. After one month’s healing, they can usher in a new life and have a happy childhood like other children.
In the operating room, doctors held surgical knives in their hands and also bring tomorrow and hope for the children. They used accurate scale to determine every bit of the lip repaired forms and their stable and fast action with pins and threads healed angel babies’ mark left by God, giving back the original appearance of life. In the recovery room, a little patient, just awakening from the general anesthesia, began crying, one foreign doctor picked up the child and appease her in a quiet comfort. Worried about impacting infusion, a nurse next to the doctor raise her arm served as an artificial infusion rod, and this posture must be kept at least 20 minutes......
"Hello, baby!” the anesthetist from India always said intimately the words when he took over a little child from the hands of a nurse. While he held the baby’s small hand with his big hand, he said even a small baby could feel the power. The Indian anesthesiologist spent 16 hours travel from Mumbai to Zhengzhou via Shanghai. He said that this is his fourteenth time to participate in this kind of "Operation Smile" around the world, although it is the first time for him to come to China, but he has fallen in love with this country.
With “Hundred Percent Smile” project carried out in China, MaryKay's local independent sales team will actively participate in the event as non-medical volunteers. This time, 32 sisters from Zhengzhou accompanied hare-lipped babies and their parents with women's unique delicate patience and thoughtfulness, delivering MaryKay's love and care. On the screening day they help little patients and their families to have physical examinations; On the operation day, they play with little patients and comfort their anxious parents while accompanying them waiting for surgery. As mothers, MaryKay volunteers have profound understanding and sympathy for parents’ bitterness and difficulties and they know how to relieve little patients’ restlessness. In their arms, a crying baby unexpectedly and gradually quiet down in a few minutes. Facing the strange aunt, the baby showed a slight smile. "Your eyes are really good, you will be more beautiful after operation!" Volunteers give the best wishes to the children.
MaryKay always brings women beauty and self-confidence through its colorful product, and this time, MaryKay hopes to light up a group of children’s life with this color. This year, Mary Kay will launch "Smile Lipstick" and "Kiss Lip Gloss", a special symbol of blessing children with cleft lip and palate. It aims to arouse public attention to the children with cleft lip and palate in poor areas, lead consumers to participate in public welfare activities. As of May, 1.66 million yuan has been raised. After fundraising event at the end of June, all donations will go to SSCLF - Mary Kay Thanksgiving Public Welfare Fund. In 2016, "Hundred Percent Smile” project will join medical experts from home and abroad, to conduct free reconstructive operation for children with cleft lips and palates in poor areas in Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Guizhou, Gansu and other provinces and cities in China, helping more hare-lipped children smile.
(From SSCLF’s Quarterly “Change”, first issue in July, 2016)