Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Ten operations gives 12-year-old girl better chance of living normal life

A flesh-eating bacteria ate away at a young girl's face after she drank from a stream near her remote village in Kenya. Twelve-year-old Saline Atieno's eaten-away face made it difficult for her to speak, eat and even breathe. After living in the U.S. for a year, and undergoing10 plastic surgery operations, Saline is now able to smile with confidence - and now plans to return home to Africa.

Saline will now be enrolled in a private boarding school in Kenya, where she will receive an education, a bed to sleep in and three meals per day - all funded by the Smile Rescue Fund.

Saline will now be enrolled in a private boarding school in Kenya, where she will receive an education, a bed to sleep in and three meals per day - all funded by the Smile Rescue Fund.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

6/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Noma, plastic surgery, Kenya, girl, smile

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - New York doctor Dr. Leon Klempner carried out a series of operations to help rebuild her face over the past year. Saline is the first child to have had her life dramatically changed by the Smile Rescue Fund For Kids, which is a charity dedicated to helping children with facial deformities deemed virtually "untreatable."

Klempner, an orthodontist on the cleft palate team at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, New York took pity on Saline's plight.

Learn how you can help the hungry -- by going here --

After making several mission trips to provide free surgeries to repair cleft palates or other facial deformities in children around the world, Klempner wanted to do more to help those children with the most severe deformities.

When she younger, Saline Atieno

When she younger, Saline Atieno's face was ravaged by a rare flesh-eating bacteria that made it difficult for her to speak, eat and even breathe.

"On every mission I've gone on there's always been one or two kids turned away because they are too severe to be able to treat and that's always bothered me," Klempner says.
Saline was only three years old when she was diagnosed with Noma. The flesh-eating bacteria develops in the mouth and ravages the faces of its victims by destroying the soft and bone tissues of the face.

"Noma attacked her face, ate through her skin, through her upper jaw, destroyed her nose and destroyed her palate.That's the medical part," Klempner said.

"The social part is she was basically a recluse, she had no friends, and she didn't go to school."

Dr. Leon Klempner, an orthodontist on the cleft palate team at Stony Brook University Hospital found

Dr. Leon Klempner, an orthodontist on the cleft palate team at Stony Brook University Hospital founded the Smile Rescue Fund for Kids to help children with facial deformities deemed "untreatable."

Klempner became aware of Saline's plight in 2010, but it took three years of fundraising and navigating bureaucratic barriers before Saline finally arrived in the U.S. for treatment last June.

She was very shy and withdrawn due to her facial condition. "We had to reconstruct a nose, an upper lip and a palate - and that was one big cavity, one big hole," Dr. Alexander Dagum, chief of the plastic and reconstructive surgery division at Stony Brook says.

As Saline's appearance began to improve, her doctors and host family noticed in both her health and self-esteem. She grew six inches taller and learned to speak English.

"Here everyone is welcoming her, telling her she is beautiful, I think that all really played a part of getting her to come out of her shell," Jennifer Crean, who hosted Saline in her home for three months, says.

Saline had her tenth major surgery - to create a nose - in April and then on May 31 she flew back to Kenya. She is now able to breathe normally, speak more clearly and eat without spilling food and drink from her mouth.

"No words can adequately express how I feel. You have not only taught me your language, and fixed my face, you have taught me how it feels to be taken care of and unconditionally loved. I never expected that. Goodbye- for now,' she told Dr. Klempner before leaving.

Saline will now be enrolled in a private boarding school in Kenya, where she will receive an education, a bed to sleep in and three meals per day - all funded by the Smile Rescue Fund.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

5 lies from the devil -and what God has to say about them Watch

Image of


In life we set goals. Sometimes we're heading straight toward them and sometimes we fall prey to negative thoughts that can cause us to give up. Discouraging thoughts, doubting our abilities and negative mindsets often lead us nowhere but you want in on a little ... continue reading

Respecting life the Gospel way Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

For the sake of our salvation, we need to pay serious attention, and act with purpose, to what Jesus teaches here in Matthew's Gospel: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will ... continue reading

Holy See announces progress made against poverty, ecological abuse begins with dignity of fellow humans Watch

Image of

By Catholic News Agency

Global efforts to fight poverty protect the environment and the common thread of promoting human dignity must connect all make decisions about the economy, a Holy See representative told a United Nations body this week. New York City (CNA) - "In our efforts to ... continue reading

Pope Francis on the devil: 'The evil one conceals himself, and comes with very polite friends, knocking at the door' Watch

Image of Pope Francis delivers homily.


Pope Francis delivered a homily on one of his favorite topics Friday morning during a mass at the Saint Martha residence. The homily focused on how the devil's temptations never wane. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis' recent homily in the chapel at the ... continue reading

Cuba still 'very far from a normal pastoral situation' after papal visit Watch

Image of The church in Cuba seeks dialogue with the government and with society while

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

After Pope Francis' visit as a "missionary of mercy," Cuba is now in a prime moment to move forward in its relationship with the Church and work for the common good, said a representative of an aid group that works in the country. Havana, Cuba (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading

The devil moves in with stealth and charm, but then 'starts giving the orders,' Pope warns Watch

Image of Pope Francis related the story of Jesus casting out devils. The Pharisees accused him of driving out demons by the power of the Beelzebub, the prince of demons.


Pope Francis, speaking at Mass Friday morning, warned the faithful about the ways of Satan. "The evil one conceals himself, and comes with his very polite friends, knocking at the door, asking permission, but then moves in and spends time with the man and, ... continue reading

3 Biblical ways to achieve small victories in our Walk with God Watch

Image of Walk with God.


Life struggles are inevitable but to look at them more than just a bump in the road is like putting rocks in your backpack before a hike. God doesn't want that - our journey to Him is meant to shape us in a way He planned for us. Little by little, we achieve victories ... continue reading

Families 'free us from the sea of loneliness and indifference,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of After recently concluding a series of catechesis on the family as a lead-in to this year's synod gathering, Pope Francis explained that he would start a new catechesis on the

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Family rescues us from indifference and loneliness and teaches us the essentials of life, Pope Francis said - adding that as the family of God, the Church has the same role and must evaluate how to live this out. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "Like Saint ... continue reading

Young girl blessed by Pope Francis during visit to U.S. believes the 'miracle has begun' Watch

Image of Julia Bruzzese was blessed by Pope Francis.


12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

'God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone,' Pope Francis says of marriage Watch

Image of Pope Francis' comments were made during his Oct. 4 Mass marking the official opening of this year's Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
16 For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 13th, 2015 Image

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his ... Read More