Wheeler students raise money for corrective surgeries
by Geoff Folsom
March 30, 2013 12:00 AM | 1985 views | 15 15 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Smile Train Executive Director Priscilla Ma answers questions from Wheeler High students after a fundraiser screening for the organization that produced the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary ‘Smile Pinki.’ <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Smile Train Executive Director Priscilla Ma answers questions from Wheeler High students after a fundraiser screening for the organization that produced the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary ‘Smile Pinki.’
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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Thanks to the work of some Wheeler High School students, two children will receive treatment for an often humiliating deformity. But the students are not stopping there.

The school’s Health Occupations Students of America club raised $500 at a Thursday event. About 250 students paid to attend a pizza party and screening of the 2008 Academy Award-winning short documentary “Smile Pinki,” which tells the story of children in a community in India who suffer from cleft lip and palate, a condition that forms when a developing child’s lip and mouth fail to fuse properly while in the womb.

The students also heard from Priscilla Ma, the executive director of Smile Train, a New York-based charity that produced the film and raises money to provide doctors to perform surgery for kids in developing countries who suffer from cleft lip or palate. The surgeries cost about $250 each.

“You are going to be giving two children a new smile and a second chance at life,” Ma said.

The HOSA students hope to help even more children when they host a 5-kilometer run on May 11 that will start and end at the east Cobb school.

Wheeler senior Kevin Pluckter, president of the HOSA club, said the students were looking for a health-related cause to assist this year after raising money for cancer research in past years.

“In First World countries, cleft palate can be addressed quicker,” Pluckter, 17, said. “In Third World countries, people don’t have the money to do it. They don’t have the welfare (system) to do it, and, on top of that, they have superstitions.”

While Smile Train is able to fund 120,000 surgeries a year, Ma said they still have a backlog of more than a million children looking for help. She said the film’s story of then-6-year-old Indian girl Pinki Sonkar is designed to help call more people to action.

“She was teased and tormented by other children,” Ma said. “They made their way on foot and traveled several hundred kilometers to get to the hospital.”

Since her 45-minute surgery, Pinki has developed into a 12-year-old who wants someday to be a community leader, Ma said.

“She’s a very confident little girl now,” she said.

Sharon Hunt, Wheeler HOSA sponsor and health care science teacher, said she was proud of the work the 80 club members did in putting together the fundraiser. She was also excited that Ma came to the school.

Seeing what children with cleft lip and palate go through can also teach kids a lesson, she said.

“One of the really impactful things is they see the devastating impact society can have on any child born with a physical deformity,” she said. “We’re showing them how this affects children, so they’ll be a little more sensitive.”
Comments
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anonymous
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April 01, 2013
Seeing what children with cleft lip and palate go through can also teach kids a lesson. What lesson is there to teach? Any why are high schoolers being taught this that did not learn this from their parents. What sort of parents do these children have is what I want to know. The lesson here is that there are high schoolers that need to be taught that while they think they are perfect no one is perfect. Even Pluckter. Wow, what a revelation that is to Pluckter and parents. Not perfect. Wow. So sad Pluck had to learn this in high school. Wait until Pluck gets out into the real world.
Angrys Hubby
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April 01, 2013
"We’re showing them how this affects children, so they’ll be a little more sensitive." To high-schoolers. Really. What happened with their parents teaching them this from infancy? As my blessed child in my life with cleft has known from birth. Ma is not needed in high school in our life.
Angry Bird
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April 01, 2013
The more I read, the madder I get. "a second chance at life" Ma said. What happened to their first one as God created them to be in your opinion? "In First World countries, cleft palate can be addressed quicker,” Pluckter, 17, said. “In Third World countries, people don’t have the money to do it. They don’t have the welfare (system) to do it, and, on top of that, they have superstitions.” Yaw, Gawd, tell me he didn't really say that. Cleft babies are all on welfare? I have a superstition about any child that would even say this. “She’s a very confident little girl now." I would teach her she has every right to be confident regardless. And that she is far far far above pompous asses such as those working to support this cause.
To The Parents
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April 01, 2013
“One of the really impactful things is they see the devastating impact society can have on any child born with a physical deformity,” she said. “We’re showing them how this affects children, so they’ll be a little more sensitive.” So so so very very very sad this has to be taught to high school students and they did not learn this at home. I pity them that they had such inadequate parents that they didn't learn this until high school and then it had to come from an outside source.
Pity
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March 31, 2013
We are just so POed at this article, but we will get over it. It is filled with false numbers, but hey. You have to listen to your Lord. If people are such they have to be taught not to be cruel in high school and never learned that until then, I feel really sorry for your upbringing and that money has to buy that to teach you. How blessed children are that don't need a program in high school to teach what Pluckter is doing and sorry Pluckter's parents didn't teach him this early in life.
WOW SCAM
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March 31, 2013
We are outraged. When did two hundred fifty dollars get you past preliminary surgery work? This is an outrage. And a scam.
Innocents
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March 31, 2013
Wheeler innocent students. I will come to your school and lay out the charges in the US for repair of cleft. You can make it your project to compare what Smile Train charges overseas compared to the 100% markup to help your own.
GummyB
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March 31, 2013
I want to call up each and everyone that says it costs $250 to correct cleft lip and palette as a total fraud and scam. I want answers as to why it costs thousands more in the U.S. without Smile Train. If the MDJ will not answer me, please tell me who to contact to get answers. Trust me, people scammed, repair of cleft lip and palette repair costs ten times two hundred fifty dollars. I want to know how these people get away with kidding people with costs.

anonymous
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March 31, 2013
I will never forget the comments from Hunt. "One of the really impactful things is they see the devastating impact society can have on any child born with a physical deformity. We’re showing them how this affects children, so they’ll be a little more sensitive." I beg to differ. "Society has a devastating impact on any child that sees themselves as perfect as these students do" is my quote. I still can't get past the physical deformity part. Insurance will support many of these children participating in this program with drug and alcohol rehab. Car wrecks. Cancer. Removal of breasts and testicles in the future. I still cannot get past the two hundred fifty dollars though. If it costs twenty five thousand here in the us, what is wrong with this picture?
I Will Follow
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March 31, 2013
I want to see this investigated where the surgeries cost about $250 each. We sure are getting scammed here in the United States. I want someone to answer me how cleft lip and palette are repaired for $250.
To Hunt
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March 31, 2013
HUNT SAID: "One of the really impactful things is they see the devastating impact society can have on any child born with a PHYSICAL DEFORMITY,” she said. “We’re showing them how this affects children, so they’ll be a little more sensitive." Hunt, the children around me are learning from birth to feel sorry for and pity people like yourself that deem themselves to be BORN PERFECT and that categorize and are putting children into a box that have cleft they are not BORN PERFECT and are BORN DEFORMED and that people need to see them as such, and that is what you ARE teaching, students to deem people with a birth defect that they are deformed. Deformed can apply to the mind also, which Hunt is teaching students at Wheeler to think as her own brain does. Hunt has a DEFORMED MIND for which there is little cure. Please stop passing in along.
Ha Hee
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March 31, 2013
Two hundred fifty to correct cleft palette and lip? Ha, ha, hee, hee, ha, ha, hee, hee. We are getting scammed then. Please contact me Wheeler and Smile Train about this charge so I can go back to our doctors and dispute their hundred times fees. Yes, 10 times 250 is 2,500. Realistic figures are 25,000 in a lifetime. Or least what the US scams it to be.
What A Scam
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March 31, 2013
Wheeler or Smile Train, one of the two. Wheeler, Smile Train is pulling the wool over your eyes or people in the United States are scamming. Two hundred fifty would not even begin to touch cleft surgery. This is laughable. Two hundred fifty might, just might, maybe, pay for a doctor to scrub or for one xray. Maybe not. More like two hundred fifty for two minutes to look at it at the cost of one twenty five a minute.
Cleft Mama
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March 31, 2013
I don't know who Smile Train is trying to kid that cleft lip and palette can be totally fixed with $250, but you are surely kidding doctors and insurance companies here in the U.S. $250 might pay for the cost of getting your toe in the door and that is all. Try maybe $25,000 or more when all is said and done with dental work, speech therapy, many more than one corrective surgeries, et al. Or maybe you are kidding those of us in the U.S. that pay all these prices. I don't know who to believe. Trust me, high school students, the cost is much much more than $250. You have been scammed.
Auntie Cleft
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March 31, 2013
I am the aunt. Quotes from the article: "humiliating deformity. second chance at life. superstitions. teased and tormented by other children. devastating impact society can have on any child born with a physical deformity. little more sensitive." You need to direct the money, Pluckter, from cleft to leadership training that my niece can teach you for free. She learned it at home. Sorry Wheeler has to teach it.

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