Cebu News

Charity event raises P57 million for cleft care facility at CCMC

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  At least P57 million was raised by Operation Smile Cebu during a charity event Saturday evening for the construction of a cleft care facility at the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

The Charity Gala and Auction hosted by Operation Smile Cebu through MSY Charitable Foundation was attended by some of Cebu’s crème of the crop.

“I am so happy that we were able to raise P57 million, which is way beyond what I expected. I only expect to raise P20 million,” said MSY Charitable Foundation founder Marquita Salimbangon-Yeung.

Yeung said the foundation needs P100 million to complete the construction and equipment of the Cebu Comprehensive Cleft Care Center of Excellence at the sixth floor of the CCMC. The facility would be the first state-of-the-art cleft care center in the country.

Among the items auctioned were expensive sets of diamond jewelry from Diagold, paintings from various local and international artists, a peacock chair by world renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue,  a dress designed by model/fashion designer Claudia Bezza-Yeung and other works of art.

A painting by Yeung’s youngest daughter, Jewelle Yeung-Mugglestone, was sold for P1 million to a businessman. A black and silver dress designed by Claudia,  Yeung’s daughter-in-law, was also sold at P450,000 to a singer-businesswoman.  Several prominent businessmen and individuals also donated millions of pesos for the said charity.

All proceeds of the auction and donations will be used for the construction of the center, which is expected to be operational six months from now. The construction of the center broke ground on December 2, 2022.

Once completed the center is expected to benefit 3,000 children with cleft palate and other facial deformities every year, said Martin Yeung, MSYCF chief executive officer and Operation Smile Philippines trustee.  To date, Operation Smile Cebu has conducted over 6,000 surgeries over the past 10 years.

“The children are smiling again. Learning to speak correctly for the first time, without shyness, making new friends, and exploring new avenues to further their talents. As they heal, benefits become more clear: they will be abel to enjoy a normal life. Because of Operation Smile, their futures are forever changed for the better,” said the MSYCF founder.

According to her, the cleft care center is their best and most ambitious project yet. It stands to benefit thousands of children by providing comprehensive care for their cleft palate condition.  She said that it is true to the original vision shared many years ago by Operation Smile founder, Dr. Bill Magee.

Apart from the tremendous impact of serving patients, she said the center will provide specialty training for medical professionals on cleft care, thus spreading knowledge and skills locally and establishing sustainability.

“I am encouraging all of you to be part of this revolutionary effort, to change how we deal with cleft palate deformities now and in the decades ahead. With your help, we can do much more good, and in a way that systematically aligns so many global efforts-individuals, skills, resources, specialties-in one program,” she said.

Operation Smile is an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with such deformities.

Operation Smile was founded by Dr. Magee, a plastic surgeon and his wife, Kathleen, a nurse and a clinical social worker.

Operation Smile has extended its global reach to more than 60 countries through its network of credentialed surgeons, pediatricians, doctors, nurses and student volunteers.

It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care.  – FPL (FREEMAN)

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