A hospital surgeon, who will begin her seventh mission to help third world children born with facial deformities in November, has praised a local business for giving a boost to her fundraising next week.
Lindsay Anderson, of Clare, a senior theatre practitioner at West Suffolk Hospital, is set to embark to Ghana at the start of next month as part of Operation Smile, a charity working to give surgeries to children and young adults in developing nations born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial defects.
She is being supported on Tuesday evening with a charity dinner at The Mughal Knight restaurant in High Street, Clare, which will donate 20 per cent of its takings from the night towards her cause.
Dr Anderson said she had been inspired to get involved with Operation Smile after her colleague showed her pictures from a mission he had been on.
“I became incredibly inspired by what he was doing. I went on my first mission to Hanoi in Vietnam and I absolutely loved it,” she said.
“I didn’t know what to expect. There were volunteers from all over the world, and as soon as I saw the children with their families, it was a very emotional moment.
“I thought, this is what it’s all about. It’s about going to the third world and using my expertise to help kids with incredibly sad stories.
“Children with facial defects are ostracised. People think they are involved in witchcraft. For a relatively short and cheap procedure, you can change their lives forever and I became incredibly passionate about it.”
Since going to Vietnam, Dr Anderson has since been a part of efforts in Peru, the Philippines and three missions to Ghana, each time taking her annual leave to do so, and she has helped to raise funds through cake sales at work and raffles with donated prizes.
“It’s nice to be able to see where the money goes. I actually get to see the end result, which is amazing,” she added.
“It’s all these volunteers coming together from all over the world, and it makes a huge difference.
“We usually operate on about 100 patients in a week. There’s a huge need for safe, effective surgeries, which are just not available in a lot of countries.
“They wouldn’t be able to do it if not for Operation Smile.”
The charity dinner at The Mughal Knight Clare takes place on October 31, starting at 5pm and running until 10.30pm.
For more details about Operation Smile, go to www.operationsmile.org.uk.