On July 18th the MMFC team of volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentist, and nurses headed to Tanzania for another two-week mission providing free cleft surgeries and dental care, working alongside the wonderful staff at the CCBRT hospital in Dar Es Salaam.
Thanks to the generosity of 14 year old Tori Cargill of Beverly Farms, MA, the biggest winner of all at MMFC’s 17thannual charity golf tournament turned out to be a young girl who has never once in her life seen a golf course.
But 12 year old Jackline Lukinga, who lives in a small and impoverished village some 8,000 miles away in a remote corner of Tanzania, knows just how lucky she is.
And so does her family.
Two years ago, in the summer of July 2012, Tori spent two weeks with MMFC’s surgical team in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and during that time Tori bonded with over 40 children who where in desperate need of medical care. For long hours every day, Tori taught the children about music, art and dancing — and perhaps most of all, she comforted these frightened and terribly sick children both before and after their surgeries.
One of those children she comforted and cared for was Jackline, who was ten years old at the time.
However, when Jackline was admitted to the hospital two summers ago, a bronchial infection forced the cancellation of her planned cleft lip surgery. Jackline was treated with antibiotics and sent home four days later, her family heartbroken and despondent.
But now fast forward to June 23 of this year, when over 600 golf balls were dropped from a helicopter and onto the 18th fairway at Marshfield Country Club in MMFC’s first ever ‘golf ball drop’ contest. The numbered golf ball nearest the marker belonged to Tori Cargill, who was about to make Jackline one very lucky girl.
Now what would you do if you were 14 years old, your pocket suddenly several hundred dollars heavier?
Spend a day shopping for clothes, perhaps?
Find a jewel or two to sparkle around your neck or wrist?
Maybe even a watch for all to envy.
Would you be tempted?
Tori was tempted alright…tempted to do exactly one thing: to donate her winnings towards the 2014 Tanzania mission so she could sponsor Jackline’s cleft lip surgery.
You can see the difference this surgery has made, and will continue to make, in Jackline’s life. When she first saw herself after surgery was complete, she couldn’t stop looking at her new smile in the mirror and saying how happy she was. This will, in many ways, be life changing for her.
Jackline wasn’t the only one to receive life-changing surgery — there were many other just like her, ranging from babies to adults who had lived with their deformity for far too long.
The team is now back home in the US, but there will be many more stories like this when we return to Tanzania next year. Thanks to MMFC”s many supporters, the CCBRT hospital for welcoming us, and mission sponsor Margie Rotchford of Saratoga, NY for making this mission a huge success.