When Akkarawit ‘Beam’ Prakaen was born with a cleft lip, his parents feared they would not be able to afford the surgeries needed to treat their son. As his father began working after 6th grade, and his mother went to school up until 9th grade, they only made 220-500 baht per day at a construction site in Roi-Et province. They had to make the difficult decision of leaving their only son with his grandparents in a different province while they worked to support their family.
When they heard of Operation Smile’s upcoming mission in Ubon Rachathani, they saw it as an opportunity to give their son a chance at a better future. The 2-hour journey to the hospital by van and bus was expensive, tiring and unfamiliar. However, their worries disappeared when they saw the other children on screening day, and knew their son was not alone.
In 2013, Beam received a surgery to repair his cleft lip. When looking at his photos prior to the operation, the difference in his smile is incredible.
Today, Beam’s parents are no longer worried that he has to grow up with people asking him about his lip, or have problems breathing, eating or speaking. They are excited he has a happy and healthy future ahead of him, with his mother hoping he may even become a doctor.
In a thank you note to Operation Smile Foundation, she said how she “is happy and proud that there are great doctors in Thailand who were able to help Beam. Thank you to the medical volunteers and kind people who helped my son. I hope Operation Smile will be able to host more missions to help more children like Beam in the future.