Nophavitch 'Boy' Wilasri
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As an apple of his grandfather’s eye, Boy is a 7 month old baby boy who is a cheerful and adorable child. His innocent smiles magically charm everyone and he brings joy to all those he meets. Unfortunately, Boy’s own birth father abandoned him when he was just 5 days old; the day when he found out that his baby was born with cleft deformities. The deformity was not new to Boy’s father, as one of his siblings was also born with a cleft lip and palate.
Boy’s mother had to give up her job in order to take care of his physical needs because Boy was unable to swallow well and he chocked easily during the feeding. His mother’s jobless status made it difficult for her family that included her parents and her young son, all living hand to mouth.
Living in Surin province means there is little access to advanced health care of any kind, and surely patients cannot count on a full-time surgeon being available or affordable so Boy’s grandfather took him to enroll in a medical treatment program in Nakhon Ratchasima province where the hospital facility was much better than in Surin. The suggested treatment plan required frequent travel to the hospital and sadly Boy’s family knew just the cost of travel was unaffordable to them, let alone the medical expenses. Hearts broken and saddened they returned home no closer to helping their adorable little Boy. One day the doctor in Surin contacted them and asked if they knew about the Operation Smile Thailand mission in Ubon Ratchathani. The doctor gave them the information and they decided to make the trip for the health screening and hopefully for a free life-changing surgery. This opportunity offered a moment of sheer joy and hope to the family. The family joined with their neighbor who gave them a ride to Sappasittiprasong Hospital in Ubon Ratchathani and Boy was accepted for the surgery the following day. Although it was a long 3 hour drive from their hometown, it was well worth it to have a chance for Boy to receive the free corrective surgery. When asked how the family would return home, they answered with smiles and simply replied that they would catch a free public train to save money. Later, after her child recovered from the operation, Boy’s mother planned to find a job in a garment factory for which she would earn 300 THB a day for the whole family to live by.
Seeing Boy, the heart of the family, welcomed by Operation Smile Thailand and feeling that finally their sweet child would get the care he needs and deserves was more than they could have ever dreamed. Although Boy’s treatment process is a long way from completed because he needs multiple surgeries, the first cleft lip surgery was a success and his grandfather was so proud of his grandchild’s new smile. His grandfather’s eyes lit up with joy when asked what he hoped for his grandchild’s future – he promptly replied that he wanted him to be a dedicated student and to become a good person in society who has a career when he grows up. Boy was a fortunate baby that his grandfather did not give up on finding a way to help him.
For children born with disfiguring facial deformities, being a normal baby seems like a faraway dream. To Boy’s family, they have just woken up from a long fitful sleep and found that their dreams have come true and their hearts are now filled with joy and hopes for a bright new future.