Cao Lanh, Vietnam--Dr. Janet Volpe, Interplast volunteer pediatrician
This is Van Canh with his wife and 9-month-old daughter, Thi Sang Sang. Thi Sang Sang was born with a cleft lip, like her father. When Van Canh heard that Interplast was coming to Cao Lanh, he and his wife decided, despite financial hardship, to leave their family store for the day and make the two-hour bus journey to our clinic day to have their daughter evaluated. Fourteen years ago, Interplast operated on clefts on both sides of Van Canh's mouth. He had been told he would need a revision in the future but because of work and family commitments, he had never been able to make it back for the revision. As our team evaluated Thi Sang Sang, we asked Van Canh if he'd like to have his clefts revised during our stay. He and his wife were overjoyed that we would consider this for him. At the age of 26 years, he told us he thought he was too old for Interplast to want to perform another surgery on him, and had no money to have the revision performed locally. We scheduled the surgeries one day apart, and this photo was taken at the time of discharge from the hospital. Van Canh had brought chewing gum from his store; just before going home, he gave each member of our team a stick as a token of appreciation. I taped my Wrigley's Doublemint wrapper in my journal and will always remember this kind and grateful family.