THE Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Malaysia raised RM300,000 for its Gift of Smile Stage Two recipients under the recently held 23rd RMHC Malaysia Charity Golf 2016.
Three beneficiaries from the Gift of Smile programme – Muhammad Adib Amsyar Jamaludin, 10, Thirumurugaan, 9 and Heng Yan Nee, 9 – were born with cleft lip and palate and have undergone the first stage of corrective surgery. They will be going for the second surgery soon.
“RMHC Malaysia has been helping underprivileged children in the areas of health, education and welfare for more than 26 years,” said RMHC Malaysia president Victor Sim in his speech after the golf tournament.
“More than 26 years of providing shelter and comfort to families in need, of lessening the financial burdens of students from low-income families, of supporting the development of disabled children, and putting smiles on the faces of children all around,” said Sim.
“And year after year, we aim to step up these contributions in an effort to reach out to even more deserving children.” he said, adding that to date, RMHC Malaysia has channelled close to RM16m and helped more than 20,000 children.
“Late in 2014, we announced RMHC’s plans to raise RM2mil over three years to fund Stage Two of cleft lip and palate corrective surgeries under our Gift of Smile programme.
“From funds raised, we expect more than 100 children born with the condition to benefit from this initiative.
“I am happy to announce that just from the golf event, we have raised more than RM550,000, and 35 children have undergone Stage Two surgery in the last two years.
“We have raised more than RM300,000, taking our total from the charity golf for Stage Two surgery to RM850,000,” he added.
RMHC Malaysia vice-president Chan Chee Chin said, “An estimated 800 babies in Malaysia are born with cleft lip or palate a year.
“Many families are not aware of the Gift of Smile programme. We hope that through the media, we can reach out to families who need help but do not know where to go.”
Chan added that priority was given to low-income families with a total household income of RM3,000 and below.
“However, we will also consider whether the family has another child in need of special care or any other circumstances. We will accept such cases even if the family income is more than RM5,000.”
“So far, we have never turned down any request from parents who came to us in these 12 years.” Chan said, urging parents to come forward to seek help.
“We started this programme in 2004 in co-operation with Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur,” said plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic or cosmetic surgeon Dr Kim K. Tan.
He said 410 children had so far benefited from the programme.
Dr Kim, who has been performing surgery on the children under the programme, said the second stage of surgery would involve pre-orthodontics and bone grafting.
“During Stage Two, we will deal with the teeth as teeth formation will be affected. When the patient is eight years old, when there is a mixture of primary and permanent teeth, we have to use braces and wire to line up the teeth and expand the gum.
“When the patient is about 9 to 10 years old, we operate on the gum, which is bone grafting to facilitate normal teeth alignment” Dr Kim added.
The programme also provides free accommodation and transportation costs for families living outside the Klang Valley.
This year, the programme has catered to 50 Stage One patients and 16 Stage Two patients at a total cost of RM195,000.
“Next year, we plan to have 50 new patients for Stage One surgery and 16 patients for Stage Two surgery,” said Chan.
Sim also announced that RMHC Malaysia would be launching two more programmes next year.
The first one is Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a mobile healthcare unit that provides health education and health services such as eye care and dental.
The other programme is the Ronald McDonald Family Room, a dedicated space that provides homely sanctuary within hospitals for families to rest while their children are being treated.