MrBeast, Operation Smile and Cleft Palates

Mauricio, one of the surgeons with Operation Smile in Puebla. “… behind the patient there’s a story, and behind the story you have a human.”

Once again, Beast Philanthropy has taken on a medical challenge: repairing cleft palates in children living in Mexico. By sponsoring an Operation Smile mission in Puebla and filming the results, he is spreading the word on this 40-year-old humanitarian organization and helping to raise funds for future missions.

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee. The organization has provided over 220,000 surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities in over 60 countries, for no cost to the patients. It also trains local doctors and donates medical equipment and supplies.

Watch the video below to see what the mission was like. A bonus is the gift they provide to a student nurse, who was herself treated for cleft palate when she was a child.

A video from the massively popular MrBeast.

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Kathy Magee: Forty years ago my husband and I were asked to go to the Philippines. We landed, and we saw 300 children with cleft lips and palates. We just didn’t know what to do. We said let’s do what we can, and we were able to do 40. The rest we had to turn away, so we said to ourselves, “Okay, well, we should go back, we should at least finish.”

MrBeast: This was the start of Operation Smile, and in 40 years they’ve been able to achieve over 400,000 successful surgeries for patients in 36 countries all around the world. However, in Mexico the number of cleft cases are quickly increasing and becoming difficult to maintain alone. They desperately need our help, so Darren and Dan flew to Puebla, Mexico, a city with rich Latin history and culture.

On their arrival, Dan got the rare opportunity to showcase this incredible city from above by being invited to ring the cathedral bell at first light. They were welcomed by Mauricio.

Mauricio: I started with Operation Smile 11 years ago. One of the reasons why I wanted to dedicate my life into nonprofits is because in Mexico there’s a huge gap between people that can actually have access to any surgery. I met a young lady, and when she came to one of our surgical programs she had a black eye. They threw stones at her because of the way she spoke. It just broke my heart.

This is one of the consequences of a cleft palate. I always say that behind the patient there’s a story, and behind the story you have a human. I decided to dedicate my life to the cleft patients in Mexico.

Dan: We met a young child and he is one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met in my entire life but he has a terrible disfigurement on his face and this child is so sweet and so loving but it breaks my heart knowing the bullying that he’s going to face as he grows up.

MrBeast: One of these patients is Emanuel. 17 months ago he was born with a bilateral cleft palette. He is the son of Herano, a single father who lives in the rural mountains of Chiapas. The cost of healthcare has proven to be extremely expensive for him, as he barely makes enough money to support his son, meaning that his only hope is to travel by bus for 17 hours to Puebla for the only chance of being selected for a surgery. And if not selected, it may be the last chance Herano has to get this opportunity for his son.

Kathy: If you look out at any one of these programs, what we see are masses. It’s not like 10 children, 2 children, it’s masses of kids and families. We screen these families, we look in their faces but if you look down you see no shoes on their feet. They will do anything for their child.

Dan: I can only imagine the pain for a parent when they have a child that desperately needs a surgery and they cannot afford to provide it for them themselves.

MrBeast: And when we saw just how difficult this was for these families we knew we had to help. So we decided to pay for over 100 surgeries. The next day after the screening process was complete it was time for the patient selection. Herano was extremely anxious because he wasn’t sure if his son would be selected.

Mauricio: Today is a very emotional day for me. Behind me we’ve got the patients and we’re going to do the surgical announcement. They are about to be told that they’re going to be having a life changed forever.

MrBeast: 97 patients had already been selected, and Herano started to lose hope. It was time for patient number 99. He did it! Just look at the relief on his face.

Seeing the hope in these parents’ faces when they bring these children to this clinic knowing that they are finally going to get the medical care that they need is truly an experience that moves the heart.

Emanuel’s surgery would take the whole day so while the doctors operated, Dan and Darren went to explore the city. We were walking through the park and we just found a mariachi band and it’s always been a dream of Darren’s to join a mariachi band so hopefully I can make this dream come true.

Dan: Sorry, my friend over there, he wants to join the band. Okay we’ll give you a try!

I think we have to shut this down. This is terrible!

That was one of the greatest experiences of my life. That shows you how boring Darren’s life is!

MrBeast: Emanuel’s surgery is now complete and this will be the first time Herano will ever see his son smile.

Mauricio: One of my favorite moments in a surgical program is when the kid comes out of surgery, because this is the first time that the parents are going to see the kids with the surgery. It’s just such an emotional moment because you change the life not only of the patient but the family and the society.

MrBeast: Our patients are going to have the opportunity to actually have a normal life. A healed cleft means that all these children will grow up not having to worry about being bullied. And on top of these extraordinary surgeries, Operation Smile also provides all their patients with free speech and vocal therapy, meaning that they will learn how to speak clearly and fluently.

But we had one more surprise left. Kathy told us about a young nursing student, Fernanda, who was treated by Operation Smile 17 years ago.

Dan: When you go home, you tell your family that they don’t have to pay for you anymore. We’re going to give you a full scholarship and we’ll pay for you to finish your nursing school. So I think you’re going to be an excellent nurse.

Fernanda: Thank you!

MrBeast: Dan, come over here. All look at this man. If you don’t subscribe he will literally cry right now. Don’t worry they will sub so you don’t have to. Oh yeah just end it like that!

Oh and one more thing – Operation Smile is amazing and they’re doing incredible work all around the world. We want to help them continue to be able to provide these surgeries to children all around the world. In other words if you don’t donate to Operation Smile you just hate kids!

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