In the Philippines, 5-year-old Niño is playful, energetic and makes everyone around him laugh with his games and smiles. His mother says she’s happy Niño has been surrounded by a loving family who tries not to treat him differently because of his facial cleft – something she has learned unfortunately isn’t the same for many of the other patients at the Operation Smile medical mission site in South Cotabato.
From the moment Niño entered the hospital, he let his personality shine through the language barrier as he connected with the medical volunteers. He even helped the other children laugh, easing their nerves around being in a new place and fears of surgery.
Even though Niño is only five, he didn’t show any fear about going into the operating room, joking and laughing with medical volunteers throughout the medical mission. When his surgery was complete, his mother was overjoyed, thanking the Operation Smile team endlessly.