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Operation Smile's World Journey of Smiles Taking Place Around the Globe November 7-16, 2007.

The Largest Simultaneous Medical Mission of Its Kind, World Journey to Include Participation of More Than 1,700 Volunteers

NORFOLK, Va. -- Operation Smile, a worldwide children's medical charity, launched its 25th Anniversary World Journey of Smiles (WJOS) simultaneous medical mission on November 7, 2007. The mission will continue through November 16 around the world. With a goal of treating 5,000 children born with cleft lips and cleft palates, more than 2,700 have already been treated since the beginning of the mission.

Operation Smile's Co-founders, Dr. Bill Magee, a plastic surgeon, and his wife Kathy Magee, a former nurse and clinical social worker, launched WJOS on November 7, 2007, in Naga City, Philippines, the site of their first mission 25 years ago. They have since visited China, Jordan, Ethiopia and Morocco and will continue on to Latin America this week.

According to Dr. Magee, "World Journey of Smiles is our opportunity to show the world that we do have the capacity to do good things through the smile of a child. To all the families we serve and children whose lives we change, let me say 'Thank You.'"

More than 1,700 volunteers, including over 700 from the United States and more than 1,000 from 43 other countries, are working at 40 hospitals, care centers and clinics in 25 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to treat an estimated 5,000 children.

Remarkable stories are coming from every region where many children, young adults and families have traveled hundreds of miles to reach one of the sites where the World Journey is underway, in some cases crossing borders to reach the sites.

Operation Smile Jordan chartered a flight to Baghdad, Iraq, to pick up 30 children in need of cleft lip or cleft palate surgeries and take them to Amman, along with 10 Iraqi doctors who will assist with the surgeries as part of WJOS. Children from throughout Jordan are also being treated at the Amman site.

In Kisumu, Kenya, a father and his oldest son had their bilateral lips and cleft palates repaired in the past, but three other children in the family still had cleft lips and cleft palates. For the first time this week the family of five can smile together. Doctors in Kisumu performed bilateral lip and cleft palate surgery on brothers Selvandus, 20, Tom, 18, and sister Robai, 10.

One young boy, Mateus, and his mother, Edna, traveled 11 hours overnight from their home in Crato, Brazil to a WJOS site in Fortaleza, Brazil. In Crato, they live in poverty, and did not know where to turn for help or how they would get the necessary money to perform such as a surgery. Mateus is one of some 120 children who will be treated in Fortaleza during WJOS.

Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.-based Operation Smile was launched 25 years ago by Dr. Bill Magee, a plastic surgeon and his wife Kathy Magee, a former nurse and clinical social worker, to help children born with devastating facial deformities. To date, the organization has provided free surgeries that have changed the lives of more than 100,000 children around the globe. In addition to contributing free medical treatment for children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its 25 partner countries and leaves behind crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.

Operation Smile has photographers and videographers covering most World Journey sites. To learn more about WJOS and read volunteer-authored journals, visit www.worldjourneyofsmiles.org. To receive video quality footage or additional information about WJOS, or to request an interview with an Operation Smile, Inc. spokesperson or volunteer, please contact Lindsay Mosher at 248-670-2262 or lmosher@susandavis.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 15, 2007
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