Sandy was heartbroken to see how people treated Dilan differently. She thought her son was beautiful and wanted her community to look past his cleft condition.
When Sandy saw her newborn son’s smile, she knew their lives would never be the same again. As Dilan grew older, surgery remained out of reach, and he realized that his smile looked different from other children’s.
Sandy had no idea where to turn for help. She was afraid and wanted to find the vital cleft care Dilan needed. That’s when she remembered Yuri, a family friend whose son was born with a cleft condition. She soon discovered that Yuri’s son had received his beautiful new smile from Operation Smile in Guatemala three years earlier.
Despite travelling to Operation Smile in Guatemala twice and having surgery delayed each time due to Dilan’s health, Sandy never lost hope for her son’s brand-new smile. “I felt confident, welcomed by all. I trust you. I know he’s in excellent hands,” she said.
That hope, however, was put on hold as the world began to experience the first effects of the pandemic. Through it all, Operation Smile’s volunteers kept in touch with Sandy and Dilan and provided necessary cleft care. In 2020, Dilan received his long awaited cleft lip surgery and Sandy was thrilled!
“I’m always going to be grateful to all the people who have helped me because they’ve never left me helpless since our first visit,” she said, “If I hadn’t found Operation Smile, I don’t know what I would have done.”
Today, 4-year-old Dilan is happy, and Sandy doesn’t worry about how other children will treat him. He likes to play ball and loves toy cars. We’re celebrating Dilan’s brighter future and his charming new smile that will light up your eyes, thanks to CHAMPIONS like YOU!