Things That Matter

He Underwent Nine Surgeries To Correct His Cleft Lip And This Boy Is Raising $100K To Help Correct Other Children’s Left Lips

A very sweet 12-year-old boy in Centerville, Utah has taken it upon himself to pass on his own success story to children in Guatemala born with cleft lips and/or palates. His name is Jeffrey Linton, and he wants to raise $100,000 that would all go towards helping 400 children learn to smile and be understood by their peers.

Jeffrey Linton is all smiles about his project to get 400 more kids like him to be all smiles, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

In a truly adorable video, Linton tells his audience how he had to “undergo nine painful surgeries to get as handsome” as he is now. Uncorrected, cleft lip and palates can cause chronic ear infections, difficulty eating, drinking and speaking.

In the video, we see a series of baby photos of Jeffrey as his cleft lip and palate were corrected.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

“My first surgery was when I was only 10 weeks old and it was just a lip adhesion,” Linton says int eh video. “My cleft was wide enough that they thought it would help my muscles adjust to the repair if they did it in two stages. So although my lip was pulled together, I could still stick my tongue out above it. It looked like I was sticking my tongue out of my nose and I hear that everyone got a kick out of that.”

It’s been a long journey for the child, completed with speech therapy, and now, it’s time for him to give back.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

Jeffrey’s second surgery was when he was just six months old. “I had a hard time recovering and my parents had a hard time knowing how much pain medication to give me,” Jeffrey told ABC. “But I came out of it with a repaired lip. They fixed my soft palate at 9 months and put ear tubes in to drain all the fluid in my ears.” It was crucial for his parents to be able to work with doctors for many years to continue his treatment.

“I want you to think about what it would be like if you couldn’t smile. It would change your life,” he tells the camera.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

He had to go through all those surgeries but now says he “can smile, I can eat and just be happy the way I am.” He goes on to tell us, very enthusiastically, “I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have those wonderful doctors that could have given me the surgeries that I need and those same doctors are going to Guatemala to help kids like me.”

Linton reached out to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation, which goes to Guatemala annually to operate on kids like him.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

The organization is entirely focused on providing support to Guatemalans. It coordinates plastic surgery, dental and construction teams to offer a range of services, including cleft lip and/or palates.

All the doctors and nurses pay their own way to get there, so all the money goes directly to medical supplies.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

HSF only works because of the volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who donate their travel expenses and time to these kids. Of course, HSF still needs to raise money for the medical supplies required to perform the surgeries.

This 12-year-old actually pitched Holiday Oil “and they went for it.”

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

They’re donating a portion of their car wash sales made on July 13th to Hirsche Smiles Foundation. He wants to raise $100,000 and says that “Holiday Oil has done their part, and now you get to do yours.

If you’re near a Holiday Oil, you can get a car wash on July 13, 2019, to help support the cause.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A portion of the proceeds will go to HSF, and you’ll get your car washed while you’re at it!

Even better, you can volunteer to help out at the car wash and tell your friends to show up, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

According to Jeffrey, “You could help collect donations and drying off cars and things,” if you show up to volunteer that day as well. 

Or, you can donate directly to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation.

 
Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A donation of $250 will pay for the cost of one surgery, and 100 percent of your donation will go towards expenses for the hospitals and supplies. It’s a worthy cause, y’all.

READ: Spurred By Anger At The Trump Administration, One Latina Entrepreneur Raised $9,000 For Migrant Children

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

For Lucia DeClerck, nine gin-soaked raisins have kept doctors and pandemics away. The grandmother of 11 great-great-grandchildren celebrated her 105th birthday on January 25 in Mystic Meadows Rehab and Nursing Center in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

That same day she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Staff members at her nursing center say DeClerck was pretty much asymptomatic and was in the facility’s COVID-19 unit for 14 days.

Now a COVID-19 survivor, DeClerck is the oldest person at her nursing home, according to The New York Times, and has survived two pandemics. DeClerck was born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents who came from Guatemala and Spain. She was two years old and living in Hawaii when the Spanish flu broke out. Since that time, she has survived two world wars, survived three husbands, and one out of her three sons. 

“She’s just been open with everything in life and I think that has really helped her because she hasn’t hesitated to do whatever she’s wanted to do,” DeClerck’s son, Henry Laws III, told CBS Philly in an interview.

Speaking about her secret to longevity, DeClerck says it takes equal parts belief and diet.

“Pray, pray, pray. And don’t eat junk food,” she told the New York Times before going on to explain that the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she eats every morning might have helped in her survival.

According to DeClerck she has eaten the special recipe every morning for most of her life.

“Fill a jar,” she explained giving NYT her recipe. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.” The New York Times describes her diet as being a part of a ritual that her children and grandchildren chalk up to being just one in the entirety of “endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)”

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” DeClerck’s 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil explained. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

Ms. DeClerck, tested positive for the virus on her 105th birthday, just one day after she had gotten her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“At first, she said she was scared. She did not like being isolated, and she missed the daily chatter from the parade of caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 120-bed facility in Little Egg Harbor,” reports the New York Times. “Within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads and wearing her trademark sunglasses and knit hat.”

According to O’Neil, DeClerck has a new nickname amongst her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked Covid.”

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A California Couple Who Met In Middle School Died Hours Apart From Eachother At Age 67 From COVID-19

Things That Matter

A California Couple Who Met In Middle School Died Hours Apart From Eachother At Age 67 From COVID-19

As the current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic continues to surge, families and friends continue to live divided lives. Hope has come in the form of new vaccines and their distribution across the globe, however, the tragedies continue.

Now, a San Diego family, whose patriarchs weren’t able to receive vaccines, is suffering deeply.

Juan and Blanca Rodriguez passed away from COVID this past week within hours of saying their last goodbyes on Zoom.

The middle school sweethearts met in the seventh grade spent decades together as a married couple until passing away at the age of sixty-seven. Juan and Blanca met in the seventh grade, were married five years later, and went onto have four children and six grandchildren.

“He saw my mom in homeroom in seventh grade, and he said from the moment he saw her, he knew he was going to marry her,” the couple’s daughter Cynthia Rodriguez explained in an interview to NBC12

This past January, Juan and Blanca were retired and living with one of their children when everyone in the family contracted COVID-19.

Their illnesses came as a surprise to the family particularly because they had been extremely cautious.

“We quarantined. We didn’t go out. We didn’t even go to stores. We would order food delivery,” the couple’s other daughter Blanca Velazquez explained.

While the family eventually recovered, on Feb. 1 Juan and Blanca were rushed to the hospital. The couple was sent to two separate facilities and communicated with their family through Zoom.

Over the weekend, after Juan’s condition continued to worsen his family said virtual goodbyes.

“My mom was on the Zoom call, and she told my dad that she was happy that she was able to share her life with him, and she thanked him for being the love of her life,” explained Velazquez.

Juana and Blanca’s son Juan Rodriguez Jr. revealed on a GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses that not long after Blanca’s call with Juan, the family received a call from Blanca “saying she was not doing well and they had to put her on a ventilator as well. The Dr. called a few hours later and said she didn’t respond to the ventilator and there was nothing else they could do for her.”

Blanca passed away three hours after her call with her family on Feb. 8 at 12:30 a.m. Later, Juan died at 4:18 a.m.

“Losing one parent is bad enough, but losing them both on the same day has been both devastating and heartbreaking. We have peace in knowing that since they were always together in life, they could not be apart in death as well,” Juan Jr. wrote. “He couldn’t live without her, so, he just let go. It’s like an epic love story, that they went together in the same day. They were the best parents,” Velazquez told NBC12.

As of Thursday afternoon, the family’s GoFundMe raised $16,897 toward its $25,000 goal.

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