Carbon girls and community make a difference



A group of girls from Carbon, as well as their community can share in a proud moment, knowing they made a difference in a young boy's life, gifting him with a new smile. Mackenzie Bertram, Cassidie Stern, Brittany Lawrence, Kayla Hill, Shayla Westman, and Teesha Pow fundraised with a bottle drive to collect $1100 to pay for re-constructive surgery for two-year old Jose. Jose lives in the area of Merida of Yucatan, Mexico and was born with a clefting congenital deformity (often referred to as cleft lip and palate). This deformity is one of the most common major birth defects and yet can be treated successfully if surgery is performed soon after birth or very early in childhood.

Thanks to these girls and the generosity of the community of Carbon, Jose received his surgery last month. "The girls were so excited to see the pictures of Jose and share in his obvious happiness," said Jody Ohlhauser.
The high school girls are part of an informal girls club who have for the past year been voluntarily meeting up for Sunday breakfast at the home of Jody and Marlies Ohlhauser, for a little mentoring and sometimes even field trips, such as the annual May youth gathering at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Three of the girls have even joined Jody and Marlies at a villa in Mexico where they had an interpreter take them to meet and speak with villagers from outlying areas, and their children. The group came in contact with the Health Foundation of the Yucatan and had confidence in the work they were doing with these and similar surgeries. The doctors and nurses volunteer their time and wages to perform the surgery and the funds the girls raised pay for the supplies and equipment.
"The girls chose to fundraise for the surgery rather than a ski trip or something for themselves," said Jody. "They are planning on holding a second bottle drive in the fall to help another child. We visit Merida quite often and have confidence working with this particular charity."