“The lives of children are ever so important in this day and age – children are truly the only language that translates across all countries I am humbled to be included with all of the Honorees.”
As a nurse on a medical mission to the Philippines in 1981, Kathleen Magee witnessed inadequate hospital conditions and a sea of deformed children. Upon returning, she and her husband William P. Magee, M.D., a plastic surgeon, founded Operation Smile. Using money raised from bake sales, as well as seed money donated by generous individuals and donated medical supplies, the Magees returned to the Philippines to help impoverished children in need of reconstructive surgery.
In 2002, Operation Smile celebrated its 20th anniversary. Kathy Magee joined medical volunteers to mark the occasion with a return to the first mission site in Naga City reuniting with patients and helping medical teams provide surgeries and evaluations to nearly 600 children at five sites. During its last fiscal year, Operation Smile conducted missions in 18 countries.With help from volunteers and significant growth in in-country local medical missions, free treatment was provided to 8,414 children.
The growth of Operation Smile continues as Belarus has been added to the mission schedule. Other programs include education exchanges, workshops, and student leadership conferences. To date, Operation Smile has foundations in 22 countries and has operated on 76,000 children worldwide. With the prize money from World of Children, Magee was able to further Operation Smile’s mission to provide education and training around the world to physicians and other health professionals. The award, as well as exposure and support from World of Children, has helped take Operation Smile to the next level and has encouraged Magee to continue to implement change around the world. For more information about Kathleen Magee and her work, please visit www.operationsmile.org.