Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Dr. William (Bill) P. Magee, Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife Kathleen (Kathy), a nurse and clinical social worker, after travelling to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates.
What they found was overwhelming. In Naga City, approximately 300 families arrived hoping their children would receive surgery, but the team could only treat 40 children. As they prepared to leave, the Magees made a promise they would return to help more children. They returned and helped approximately 100 more patients. Again, hundreds more still waited.
Today, Operation Smile is a global medical charity helping to improve the health and lives of children in more than 60 countries. We’ve provided more than 326,000 children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial differences with free life-changing surgical procedures and dental care. We train doctors and local medical professionals, donate medical equipment and supplies and provide year-round medical treatments through a network of comprehensive care centres. Operation Smile Canada was established in 2011 and became a registered charity in 2012.