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On the Road: Smiles from Minnesota

Updated: 07/14/2014 9:06 AM
Created: 02/10/2014 4:15 PM KSTP.com
By: Jason Davis

When popular singer/songwriter Nicholas David, runner up on NBC's "The Voice," did a benefit concert for a local charity, it changed his life.

Nicholas was touched and enthralled by the work the "Smile Network" does to fix the cleft lips and palates of poor children around the world. The affect on this young musician was so profound, he volunteered to interrupt his busy schedule to travel to Puebla, Mexico, with about twenty other volunteers to take care of as many disfigured kids as they could in an intense week of work.

Reporter Jason and Davis and photographer Dave Peterson traveled with Nicholas and "Smile Network" founder Kim Valentini to record the extraordinary events that took place.

More than 60 kids were selected from the hundreds that showed up at a major hospital in Puebla in the hopes that they would qualify for the free surgery.

The changes in the lucky ones are amazing. Children, who, if not operated on, would face a life of being shunned and ridiculed by society, are given a new face. In an operation that usually takes less than ninety minutes, their lives are changed.

Our cameras follow Nicholas as he helps wherever he can. Part of his job is to take the babies from their mother’s arms and carry them into surgery. It is a heartrending scene as the families weep with fear and trepidation. There are more tears, but of pure joy, when their children are returned to them "good as new.”

As one grandmother said it was like her grandson had been "born again.”


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