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OPERATION SMILE: Guibson: His Story, His Words

Guibson/Operation Smile

Within Guibson is incredible strength that pushes him to pursue his dreams – strength that his mother, Iva, instilled in him.

When Guibson was 6 months old, he received surgery at his local hospital (unaffiliated with Operation Smile) to repair his cleft lip. Although it seemed to be a success at first, as he grew older the need for corrective surgery soon emerged.

Guibson was teased and excluded from activities at school, but his loving family supported him during those difficult years.

“I was heartbroken to see my boy suffering,” Iva recalled. “As a mother, I gave support, tried to help him … but inside, it hurt in me as much as in him.”
For 22 years, he did his best to hide the pain that living with a cleft condition caused him – until one day while watching TV, Guibson saw a commercial for an upcoming Operation Smile medical mission in Santarém. He didn’t hesitate to buy a bus ticket for the 12-hour journey. After his comprehensive health evaluation he received the best news – he had been selected for surgery.

“Here in Operation Smile, you guys say, ‘One smile at a time.’ It’s my smile’s turn now!” Guibson said on the day of his surgery.
Apart from repairing his cleft lip, surgery had accomplished something much greater. It gave Guibson an opportunity to feel completely happy for the first time in his life.
Operation Smile reconnected with Guibson 6 months later. His surgical result was outstanding and the medical volunteers were thrilled to learn that he’s been dating someone for two months.

When asked how Guibson would describe his life today, he offered one word: gratitude.

“Gratitude for everything that has happened in my life in the recent months. Gratitude to God for having put Operation Smile angels in my life,” Guibson said.

He shared his appreciation with the Operation Smile medical team by writing an original poem titled “Dreams.” He hopes that when someone reads his poem, they gain the will to never stop striving for what they want in life.

“I wish that people can believe in their dreams and believe that someday they will come true just like mine did,” he said. “And that they never think of giving up their dreams because we only achieve our goals by deaming.”

Here is Guibson’s poem, translated from Portuguese to English:

Fighting for your dreams is seeing life differently,
Realizing that everything is within your reach.
Something strong that is born inside you,
Something everyone can reach.

Until someone comes and says:
Stop! Enough! It’s over!
And you get discouraged,
Ending what barely started.

These things make us give up,
and even stop smiling.
Letting a dream be just a memory
And losing any hope you had about it.
Until someone arrives and says:
Come on! You can do it! You can achieve it!

You stand up and pursue
Something that’s very good to feel.
And then, when you do it,
You realize,
That you’re smiling again.

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Operation Smile

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