Julieanne Abcede stood out from other children on the mission in Manila as she had a severe facial deformity but she was smiling, her optimistic personality shining through. In fact, she sat through the whole medical evaluation process with a smile on her face. Because of the severity of her deformity she was made a priority case for the Operation Smile Australia World Care Program.
Through sponsorship the Operation Smile Austraila World Care Program was able to bring Julieanne to Brisbane, Australia for her surgeries that were too complicated to be performed during the in country mission.
In January of 2000, Julieanne and her mother flew to Brisbane. During 15 hours of surgery, in which 14 volunteer surgeons participated, the bones of Julieanne’s face were completely dismantled, reshaped, and reassembled. Even with such an extreme procedure, she was optimistic, anxious to get back to school. One month later, she returned to the Philippines in time to pass her high school exams.
“I explained to Julieanne and her mother that her deformity was too severe to be treated during the mission, but we would bring her to Australia for surgery. She smiled even bigger and started to cry. This is why I’m involved in Operation Smile. Here is this young lady with a severe deformity smiling at me, and I know that our team in Brisbane can change her life forever.”
Richard Lewandowski, M.D.
Volunteer since 1994