Mental Health America – a proud member charity of Community
Health Charities and the leading advocacy organization addressing the full
spectrum of mental and substance use conditions and their effects nationwide –
works to inform, advocate and enable access to quality behavioral health
services for all Americans.
Mental Health America continues its tradition of celebrating
May as Mental Health Month, which began in 1949 to raise awareness of mental
health conditions and mental wellness for all.
Emilia's story as told by a Smile Train team member.
"Emilia Solorzano de Estrella is a very pleasant 82 year-old lady, who was born with a cleft lip in Acobamba, Peru; in an anex town called Buenos Aires, near Huancayo. She never attended school.
"She lived with her parents until she was 30, and then she married at age 35 in a small town near the jungle, called La Merced, in the Chanchamayo district. She had only one son. She lived all of her adult life in the jungle until 1996, when she returned to her birth town near Huancayo. She is very active and still takes care of her 90 year old blind husband and her home: carrying wood for the stove daily.
"Many times she has wanted to fix her cleft lip, but never trusted doctors, because she was afraid she could die during surgery, and also because she was very poor and could not afford the expense. Plus doing the surgery in the jungle was almost impossible.
"Her married son has 4 children and lives with his family next door. Eventually, they heard of the Smile Train – Cirplast mission on the radio, and her son brought her to us in Tarma.
She was eager to have the surgery to fix her lip, and insisted that she only wanted “the lip put together” as she demonstrated by pinching her two lip segments together. She also wanted to have the surgery as soon as possible.
"We had all the tests done, and did her surgery at the beginning of our 120th mission (the fourth one in Tarma). The surgery was successful and she is now ‘the happiest and prettiest woman in the world’ and sends her blessings to the CIRPLAST team and to her ‘angel,’ Dr. Navarro."