English Editted by Gary Alphie Mc Donagh
A young boy named Natchanon Somkuan, or First, is 3 years old and the beloved son of his adoring mother. He is intelligent and loves to play with everyone. When First visits his grandparents in the Chiangrai province, he always runs ahead and leads his cousins and grandparents to pay respect to Buddha. He likes to dance along with melodies and rhythms and he has an outgoing and cheerful character.
One day, at a hairdresser shop, someone noticed that First’s mouth had a deformity. This person suggested that his mother, Krisana Poomperm, took him to see a doctor as she was worried that First might have an inferiority complex among peers or be teased by friends on his first day of school. While she received sympathy for her son's condition, she was unable to get a picture or an operation result. In addition, she did not know who or where to contact for cleft surgery. Two years then passed since she first noticed her son had a cleft lip.
Krisana mentioned that in the past she had worked in a factory producing auto parts and motor gas during her pregnancy. Also, the family did not have enough money, so they relied on cheap foods with low nutritional quality. She thought this might be a reason as to why her son was born with a cleft lip.
In the meantime, Krisana raised First and played with him like any other ordinary child, not drawing attention to his cleft lip. First was her special son whom she loved unconditionally. A light of hope was sparked when Krisana was introduced to Operation Smile Thailand’s medical mission by a parent who received surgical care for a child from the organization. She expressed her feeling that, “I was so glad and told First that I was going to bring him there to make him handsome.”
At a special ward in Chonburi Hospital where First stayed, student volunteers from international schools gave cards and toys to the boy. He had fun and it was very heartwarming. Krisana will always remember how medical volunteers took good care of her son.
“I am glad that the doctors value him, and the young volunteers cared about First, not leaving him alone,” she expressed her appreciation and added that, “thank you all for seeing the significance of these children and their bright future. I am glad that my son came across this great program”.
A new big smile from First now shines handsomely. His mother no longer remembers the pictures of his old wound anymore. First is very happy and he looks forward to making new friends at school.