Blogs/ >

Nicaraguan teen gets surgery that makes her smile

POSTED June 15, 2018

Nicaraguan teen gets surgery that makes her smile

Watch Maria’s story, and see how a Toronto surgeon volunteered his time to fix complications she had with her cleft palate
By Brianne Binelli, online content manager, Canada

Maria Story Surgery

When Dr. Paul Roberts met Maria, he knew she had a problem he couldn’t ignore.

The honorary advisor on Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s Board of Directors knows it isn’t our mission to provide surgeries, but he wanted to help the Nicaraguan teen fix a complication with her cleft palate.

Dr. Jeffrey Fialkov, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, volunteered his time to perform the surgery. Although Maria had an operation as a child to repair her cleft palate, a hole had developed through the repair. It was causing food and fluids to be regurgitated through her nose.

Of course, there were other challenges: “I was always concerned about what other people would think about me, and some people asked what happened to me,” recalls Maria in the video. “I hope no one asks me that again.”

Watch Maria’s latest medical journey. See how the operation has changed her outlook.

Sharing is caring:


Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

Skip to content