Nine-year-old Abigail Moen has been collecting bottles to help raise money for children’s cleft palate surgeries. The young girl decided that it’s not fair that some kids have to deal with this, so she wants to do everything she can to help them. With the help of her family and neighbours, she has successfully paid for a surgery.
A cleft lip or palate develops while the baby is still in the womb. The infant’s lip or roof of the mouth doesn't completely fuse during critical developmental stages. Often, kids born with the defect have difficulties feeding, speaking clearly, and are prone to ear infections. In order to repair the defect, infants must have surgery to close the gaps. As they grow older, they may need more services like orthodontics, speech therapy, and plastic surgery.
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Surapong and Assaraporn were shocked when their third child Nawarat was born with a cleft lip. Fortunately their relatives and neighbors were supportive because they knew surgery could repair her cleft condition. When Nawarat was 10 months old, the whole family traveled to the @operationsmilethailand mission site that was only an hour and a half from their home. At the mission, Assaraporn enjoyed the opportunity to talk to other mothers about their experiences. After a successful surgery, Nawarat’s parents were thrilled to see her new smile. both Assaraporn and her husband were very happy with the result. Today, Nawarat is able to eat normally and is always in a cheery mood. She’s a perfectly healthy little girl.
Moen decided to do something after seeing a commercial on kids with clefts. She told her dad that the situation made her very sad, and she wanted to do something about it. With that, the two did their research and found out how much it would cost to fund an operation, provide blankets, and give teddy bears. To raise money for their donation, Moen started to collect bottles.
For a whole year, she collected bottles from her home, her neighbours, and her parents’ coworkers to cash in for 5 cents each. Erik, Moen’s dad, told CNN that they would cash in a whole cart of plastic and glass bottles twice a week. So far, the little girl has collected over 7,000 bottles, which comes up to around $350. One surgery will cost around $240, so she has more than enough to give someone a beautiful smile.
The big-hearted girl isn’t stopping there. She plans on having a bake sale to raise even more funds for kids with cleft lips or palates. Her parents attribute her empathy for others to her upbringing in Ecuador, where she saw less fortunate kids struggle. On top of that, the little girl was just born with a good heart and the drive to help others. In the future, she plans on becoming a surgeon, so she can continue to give to kids with health issues.