When the government gave permission for specialized hospitals to operate once again, Tebow CURE was ready. Our building was made spot-free from floor to ceiling and chairs were placed strategically to ensure social distancing. We were ready and excited to welcome our first patients after lockdown, and that is when we met Zane and his mom Russel.
Zane brings so much joy to his dad, Anacleto, and his mom, Russel. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family had a lot more time at home together, with Zane singing and dancing to tunes that Anacleto plays on his guitar. Zane, himself, strums the guitar even before he can walk on his own feet! Anacleto and Russel have been very hands-on in Zane’s formative years, but they couldn’t help but feel lacking when it comes to his well-being.
“We have so many dreams for Zane. He also has so many things he wants to do as a kid,” says Zane’s dad, Anacleto.
“Zane was born with a cleft lip and palate. I never saw that on the ultrasound, but I wasn’t surprised to see him with a deformity when he was born. One of his cousins also had a cleft lip and palate. Zane hasn’t had any treatment for this until we got referred to Tebow CURE. We are nervous but mostly excited,” adds Mom Russel.
Cleft lip and palate is a congenital defect where the nose, lip, or palate fail to fuse correctly while in the mother’s womb. Dr. Andrew, Tebow CURE’s plastic surgeon, further explains that it could either be genetic, lack of nutrition, or part of any other syndrome that a child may have. “If a child is untreated early on, everything becomes more complicated. On top of the social problems that they go through, there’s a great possibility that they will have deformed and rotten teeth and a lot of infection. For cleft lip surgery, we rearrange oral tissues to close the gap and, as much as possible, recreate a normal looking lip and nose. For the palate, it’s more than just closing up a hole. We rearrange oral muscles so the child can continue to speak.”
Zane had his cleft lip surgery first. When he recovered from that surgery without any complications a week later, he was scheduled for a cleft palate surgery after three months. Recently, Zane came back for a follow-up and we are pleased to tell you that he is now cleft lip and palate free! We’ve restored Zane’s cleft lip, though we believe that there’s more work to be done to ensure that his palate plays its part to produce the proper sounds when he speaks. Thanks to our partnership with Smile Train, this is where speech therapy comes in.
One of the best things that happened to Zane and his family is experiencing restoration and encouragement in following Christ. Anacleto and Russel are already of the Christian faith, yet they were discouraged from attending church regularly. By coming to CURE, they were able to experience what church is like – a body of Christ built together in one Spirit to encourage one another and bring people back to intimacy with Him.
There are so many children in Mindanao, the island where CURE Philippines is located, in need of physical healing, but we offer so much more than that. We share the love of Jesus and the amazing grace that comes through healing. We are constantly in awe that, amidst this pandemic, we see people walk through our doors with their family and friends who bring them in for healing. It reminds me of the friends in Luke 5, who, against all odds, made a way for their paralyzed friend to come to see Jesus for healing. We are blessed to have friends and partners who generously give towards the gift of healing!