A journey which started off with no hope, is now the beginning of a bright future for Harshita and her family. When Harshita’s parents walked into my cabin, the disappointment on their faces, gave me a sinking feeling. Through the years of association with Smile Train India, I have come across many children born with clefts, seen the disappointment among parents, as they are unaware that this can be treated. But there was something special about Harshita that touched me. Maybe it was the naughtiness in her eyes, or the innocence on her face that instantly caught my attention.
The desperation and helplessness in the eyes of Harshita’s parents, was a clear reflection of what they were feeling. They couldn’t explain how disheartened they were when they saw their first born with a deformity which they had never seen or heard of before. The concern they had for the well-being of their new-born and the determination with which they set out to find a solution and gift their child a smile, touched my heart.
Each time I tell a parent that their child’s cleft can be healed, the way their eyes light up, is magical; and so was the case with Harshita’s parents. On learning that their daughter could get a new smile, they started looking forward to a bright future for her, which they earlier never thought would be possible.
After the surgery, when I saw Harshita’s beautiful new smile, and the smiles on her parent’s faces, I couldn’t have felt more satisfied and humbled to be a part of this organization. The way her cleft has healed post-surgery into a beautiful smile, which is so pleasing and satisfying, it is difficult to take my eyes off her! Each time I see Harshita, I feel that there is an array of hope, a reason to smile, and I am so happy to be a part of it.
Dr. Gunjan Dube is a Maxillofacial Surgeon and Project Director of the Smile Train program at Dube Surgical & Dental Hospital, Jabalpur. Harshita underwent surgery at the hospital, in December 2016.