Sunday, March 31, 2013

SPEECH therapy, speech therapy, and more speech therapy!

Jhanson (4 years old) had his lip repair 2010;vpalate repairJuly 2011 - both by Dr Williams; speech therapy July 2012 and March 2013! He returned for his second round of intensive speech therapy for 4 days a week/2 times per day/for 2 weeks! He did great and his parents and family practiced with him and sat in on every session! He was VERY quiet last year; this year his language improved and he was really ready to participate in speech therapy. All of our targets from last July resulted in good improvement and he did great this year with new sounds!  We are looking forward to working with him again in  2014!
It was always a challenge to come up with new ways to use the materials, games, cards, books and toys we brought for the mission!  The children LOVED the group games and opportunities, but also the one-to-one time with the speech therapists!  Any thing we presented- they loved it- but we found after 2 weeks, Linda and Theresa needed a change of activities!  When Cynthia, our speech therapist arrived from Boise for week 2, she brought with her some new games and activities (and fresh ideas) and it was just what THERESA and LINDA needed!!

TWO brothers-Three new smiles (including their Dad's!)

These two brothers, Ariel and Aleico,  were brought in by their father to have surgery to repair their cleft lips! They are not the same age but very close!  They looked amazing but were not feeling too well in the "after" picture, as we would expect!  They loved the books and games provided and played MEMORY games with each other, Dad and the other children sharing their room!  They were all (new) smiles when they left the hospital!

SO- I bet you think we forgot about the blog!! We did not...but have been traveling a little beyond the mission and have had very little time to sit at the computer.

Below is a great picture of the children displaying their Easter Egg finds! The Easter egg hunt was put on by Cynthia Alleman and Karen Smith! Karen, Psychologist, arrived SaturdayMarch 23. Cynthia, Speech Pathologist from Boise, arrived on Sunday, March 24!  Cynthia almost didn't arrive...her passport expired within the 6 month window for travel to Philippines! Even though she wasn't staying beyond a week, they wouldn't let her board in San Francisco- news to her until she was actually BOARDING the plane! So she had an unexpected overnight in San Fran and was able (at a cost!) to expedite her Passport....which she informed us is now good for 10 years! Good thing because the plan is for Cynthia to travel on additional ICSF missions to do speech therapy and add to the speech therapist "pool"!
 Karen spent 3 LONG days working and evaluating children with special needs at the city-run Center for Social Work Development in Dipolog where the children go for OT and PT; and some additional children who attend the special education program in the city!  She was a great support to the school and center since they have no access to a school psychologist!

More soon- I'm trying to compile more "before and after"pictures but have had trouble with my Iphone adding pictures to computer!  And to upload pictures to the blog- takes forever! Thanks to those who have checked frequently- sorry for the delay!
Again- Happy Easter to all!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Surgery Observation!

Theresa observing without any "queasiness" at last! Found it amazing to watch! 4 hour surgery to repair a bilateral cleft lip! The results are amazing everytime!

Linda (below) with nurses Adrien and Kristine, and Anesthesiologist Dr. Judith "Majong"!  The OR staff has stayed up WELL into the late night hours to make sure the children scheduled get their long awaited surgeries at the skilled hands of Dr. Geoff Williams!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 5- 14 surgeries so far and many hours of speech therapy!

 Janelle! Palate repaired last year- will be seeing us for speech therapy!  She was very shy and crying until she realized it was a "regular" doctor's office! The pile of toys, books and stickers brought her around in a hurry!  We are looking forward to how far we can take her with her speech-in a very short amount of time!
JANELLE is doing very well! She has attended 4 sessions in 2 days...last session tomorrow! Her mom participated in each session and will work with her at home...they traveled a LONG distance and stayed with her mom's sister!  Big effort for a family and we're so glad they made it work!!

Linda- screeing day! Handing out books for every child (and their siblings if present!)  They usually went from a look of fear in seeing us to smiling, high fives and even talking to us!!

This is litte Alice Claire! She had her palate repaired in 2011 and came back last year in July and October but was not well enough to have surgery...she is scheduled for her palate repair next week- say a prayer that she is healthy enough to get her surgery! 
Three new smiles on the way!  Girl on left is 12 year old "Joyaide" who  had her surgery today...we hope to have after pictures in the morning!  So, so friendly and smiley- but I am thankful a new SMILE is in store for her!

The middle girl had her repair and I have not downloaded her after pictures yet- will try and post on next go around!  Wifi is limited to late evening- and..... staying up late to post, well, sleep wins out!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

 Therapy has begun for the children from the Island of Negros!  Same as last year (because we have 3 returning children) they set up the table and chairs and are ready to go when we get to the church they are staying at for 2 weeks!.l They greet us at the door...and kiss and hug us on our departure! They are so happy to be part of the mission and to be learning many new sounds and many new words; they pick up new English words quite a bit faster than we are picking up Visayan or Ilongo (their dialects!) 
 We have mastered- Dila=tongue; Ilong=nose; Bah, Bah!= mouth; and Doedoemlan (spelling??)= throat!  These words all relate to where they make the sounds.  We struggle every time to try and apply the right inflection...easier said than done!  The mothers have been great instructors for us as well as working with the children between our 2x's a day speech therapy session!

We have a lovely room (Opthomology Clinic) with a great air conditioner!  When we see the children at the church- it is very very warm! So we are somewhat spoiled with the Air Con!

Many of the items here were donated by families, friends, work associates and children for the mission. Each child received a stuffed animal and book on screening day. When admitted to the ward, we offer another book, a writing or coloring activity and some other "toy" (cars, puzzles, playing cards!) 

Thanks again to all our supporters with materials, toys.... and prayers!
We are very blessed...
Theresa and Linda

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

 Screening day with the team for Dipolog City, Mindanoa, PH!  (left to right) Fluer Moya (nurse/coordinator); Theresa Snelling (speech pathologist); Linda Rollert (speech pathologist); Dr. Geoff Williams (plastice surgeon and head of International Children's Surgical Foundation): and Dr. (Mario John Judith) "Masjong"(anesthesiologist)!  We started screenings Monday March 17th, 2013.

51 children were screened for surgery and 45 have been scheduled so far; some were sick or in need of medical/nutrition support before they were ready for surgery.  10 children for Dipolog City and surrounding area will be receiving speech therapy, as well as 7 children from the island of Negros (see photo below).  Three of the girls were with us for speech last year, and
four new patients joined us who had their cleft palates repaired by Dr. Williams 4 1/2 weeks ago! 
 We are being hosted at a local Rotarian's home (Thank you Lindon and family!) and are well fed and provided safe transportation by members of the Rotary and Rotaract. The Zamboanga DelNorte Medical Center staff have helped with screening, nursing and charting for the team and patients. Our interpreter Gwen Tamporong (E.R. nurse) continues to amaze us in her skilled use of language to make all we "say" understandable to our families and children!!

Please follow us over the next few weeks and keep us in your prayers as we participate and support this great mission!
Theresa and Linda

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We are in Manila for the night after 48 hours of travel! We are supposed to be in Dipolog City by now but our flight was delayed out of L.A.  We missed our Friday evening connection to Manila and spent the evening in a lovely Japanese hotel (courtesy of the airline, thank goodness)!  This also meant we missed our connection for Dipolog Saturday morning. We had anticipated an overnight in Manila- but the overnight is a day late.  We are happy to be so close; this morning (Sunday here) we will see what the airline will do with our rebooking!  Let's hope we our to our destination about 8 hours from this posting!!
The hotel in outside Narita airport was quite nice- and the picture shows the lovely Kimono robes they provided; we enjoyed the green tea as well although we are both coffee drinkers!  We now have our passports stamped for JAPAN so that was an added bonus! 

The immigration line in MANILA was LONG! (picture)After 2 hours to get through immigration, luggage retrieval and customs- we spent a few hours checking 3/4 of our luggage with the cargo carrier! It saved us a bundle- and is mostly books, toys, stuffed animals (and therapy materials for the children!) The airlines have changed their baggage allowance (drastically reduced) and it would have been many, many more Pesos to take with us in morning. We could not have made it around Manila or checked the luggage without the help of local Dipolog City Rotarian, Lindon!  He arranged 2 drivers who took great care of us and left us at this great hotel!
Now, we just need to get a boarding pass for the 11AM flight to Dipolog!
Linda and I can't wait to get started!  Please keep us, all the team of doctors and nurses and local volunteers, as well as all the children who will receive free life-changing surgery (and speech therapy) your prayers!!

Future pictures will be more exciting- the children and families!! (And Linda who didn't model her Kimono- she'll be up next!!)
Love from Theresa and Linda
**posted by Theresa

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cars, books, stuffed animals galore!  Collecting for the children at the hospital!  8 days and counting- lots to pack and try to minimize the weight!!
Donations from families at my office, staff at Rose Medical Center (where I work on the team), family members, and friends!  Thanks to everyone!
I'm looking forward to getting on the plane!

Our flight home which is through Tokyo- was on the Dreamliner- direct to Denver! No customs in L.A.! But since the Dreamliner is a no-go until June- we are waiting on our revised itinerary!  Kind of down to the last minute- but I'm sure the airline will provide us a ride!

Watch for more!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

While in Chicago this past weekend, my neices and nephew (Ava and Kyle pictured) and brother and sister-in-law... helped with collecting books, toys, activities and stickers for the children getting surgery in March!  Thank you to Karen, Dan, Ava, Kyle, Hannah and Abby supporting our mission this year!!

I also want to thank my many other financial supporters who helped cover my travel expenses so I can afford to take the time off work and make this all possible! Thanks Mona, Ed, Matt, Jen, Reed and Ivy!  The speech therapy for the mission could not happen without your support- to mention a few!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Mission coming SOON!!!

HI all!  The next combined surgical and speech mission with International Children's Surgical Foundation will again be to Dipolog City, Mindanoa, Philippines March 17-29, 2013!  We will being seeing children who have had their cleft palates repaired on previous mission for 2 weeks of intensive speech therapy!  Linda Rollert, a Speech Pathologist who works on the Cleft Palate Team at Kaiser Permanente in Denver, Colorado, will be joining Theresa this year!

Plans are already underway to get children scheduled to be in Dipolog for the speech therapy!  We will again be working to add daily (maybe- if the technology works in out favor) BLOG updates and photos of our speech therapy and surgical mission with the INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S SURGICAL FOUNDATION (  Dr. Geoff William's, founder and Plastic Surgeon will again be working with his Filipino team members (nurses, anesthesiologists, and support staff) to provide free surgery for children with unrepaired cleft lips and/or palates. 

We encourage you to check out the ICSF website and support this amazing program.  If you would like more information directly from Theresa regarding the speech therapy portion of the mission, you can email her at:!