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A Healthy Smile is Just the Beginning®

Sebastian’s healthy smile story began over 10 years ago and shows how comprehensive cleft care is transformative for a patient and their family.

In 2008, 3-month-old Sebastian and his family traveled several hours to meet our GSF volunteer team in Guayaquil. They missed the screening day due to the distance they had to travel but implored the team to meet their son.

Our volunteers were so moved by his family that they made time to see this little patient. Knowing that they could help him, they unpacked their bags. During that program, Sebastian underwent a surgical procedure to repair his cleft lip and that was the first step in what has been a transformative journey.

The next year, Sebastian returned to Guayaquil to undergo a cleft palate repair. He and his family come back every year for follow-up care, including a bone grafting procedure, as well as dental services, speech therapy evaluations, and psychosocial support. Comprehensive cleft care across the full range of specialties involved in treating cleft has given Sebastian the best outcome possible.

He and his family are thankful for the help they have received, and they generously give back to others whenever they can. When an earthquake devastated parts of Ecuador in April 2016, Sebastian and his dad helped distribute food and water. In 2020, Sebastian volunteered during the GSF mission and helped the team by creating name bands for all our patients. He is learning how to take photos from fellow-GSF patient Diego and contributes as a volunteer in Ecuador.


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