The entire mission team made up of 32 volunteers arrived in Roxas City by Sunday afternoon 24 January to hospital halls packed with potential patients and their families. They had gathered early in anticipation of being selected as a patient for cleft lip and/or palate reparative surgery. The head of mission felt there was no sense in waiting until Monday to start the final screening process – so screening commenced on Sunday afternoon. The amount of patients in need was impressive! Prior to our arrival, 180 patients had been pre-screened. From that amount, 79 went through the Sunday screening.
During Sunday’s screening easch patient visited 7 screening stations staffed with Uplift volunteers and local hospital staff. At each station professionals evaluated the patient to determine if they were healthy enough to have surgery. Anticipation was the overwhelming emotion for both the patients and the volunteers on Sunday. The small screening rooms and the halls were packed and a buzz! Actually it was Standing Room Only! The patients were anticipating the chance to have their lip and/or palate repaired and their lives changed FOREVER! The volunteers, some of which who have traveled very little outside the US, were anticipating the chance to be a part of making an impact in a land far from theirs and in the lives of people who have had little to smile about prior and have had to endure ridicule through no fault of their own.