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Operation Restore Hope Raises Precious Funds

Operation Restore Hope Raises Precious Funds With Vinnies

Thursday 15 November 2007 was a night of huge achievement for the Kiwi surgical charity, Operation Restore Hope. A fundraising dinner and charity auction, led by Gareth Morgan and Wallace Chapman, raised precious funds to enable the charity to reach more children who suffer from cleft lip and palate. Charity auction items including a walk-on part on Shortland Street and a day with stylist to the stars Anna-Kate Paterson were entered into a bidding war.

The evening was held at Vinnies Restaurant in Herne Bay and consisted of five sumptuous courses exclusively created by renowned chef and owner, Geoff Scott. Kiwi FM’s highly entertaining breakfast host Wallace Chapman was the MC for the event. Other guests of honor invited to speak included prominent Kiwi economist Gareth Morgan, Asia Downunder’s Melissa Lee and plastic surgeon of Skin Doctors fame Tristan de Chalain.

Tristan de Chalain is part of the highly regarded New Zealand Operation Restore Hope team. Year after year the team of Kiwi surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses return to the Philippines help as many Filipino children affected with cleft lip and palate as they can. They operate in one of Manila’s poorest neighbourhoods, Caloocan, where 37% of the population live in dire poverty. The week long mission is always full of heart breaking cases, intensive surgery, guaranteed touch and go scenarios on the operating table and minimal sleep.

Cleft lip and palate deformities are comparatively prevalent in the Philippines with nearly 200,000 Filipinos estimated to be awaiting surgery for their deformity. This unusually high number is due to the high proportion of Filipinos carrying the gene which causes the deformity. Less mobility amongst the less fortunate allows the gene to flourish. Malnutrition in pregnant mothers increases the extent of the deformity. There are just not enough trained surgeons in the Philippines to deal with the caseload. Without access to the free surgery provided through Operation Restore Hope, operative repair is unlikely for many. A cleft lip and/or palate denies a child normal speech and appearance. These children are relegated to a lowly, impoverished life where they are likely to be denied the simplest privileges such as schooling, social contact and eventual employment to due to their deformity. Surgery gives these children the ability to communicate, through speech and something as simple as a smile.

Conceived in 1992, Operation Restore Hope’s purpose is to correct deformities and facial disfigurement for those who without the donation of services would remain untreated and permanently disadvantaged. Now in its 15th year, Operation Restore Hope still operates on the basis that it is made up purely of volunteers. The foundation is also involved in the training of Filipino Surgeons, Anaesthetists and Nurses who can then carry on the good work of Operation Restore Hope. After the foreign team head back home, they keep working with the patients, performing highly skilled surgery under Operation Restore Hope’s endorsement.

To find out more about Operation Restore Hope please visit They are always looking for assistance by way of donation and or supplies along with volunteers.


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