Message From the Founder
Message from Samuel Noordhoff
During my years as a plastic surgeon in Taiwan, I often saw many children with cleft lip/palate whose families could not afford the cost of the treatment. I felt that any child deserved the best possible treatment regardless of the family’s financial condition. Therefore, in 1990, I started the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation. I wanted each child to have the best possible surgical care, orthodontia, dental care, and help with their speech so they could live as normal persons in society. I have always felt that money spent on a child was money well spent as such care would be beneficial for that child’s entire life.
Previously, I also started the Chang Gung Craniofacial department. The Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation and the Chang Gung Craniofacial Department have developed together to provide the best care of the cleft child.
The financial support so that children can receive adequate care continues to be our primary purpose today. Whenever we have an abandoned baby or orphan referred to us, we accept him and treat him. We are grateful to God that many of these infants are successful participants in society today. The NCF is closely associated with the development of new techniques in cleft care at the Chang Gung Craniofacial Center. Patients receive the most advanced care possible. This includes all aspects of cleft care; orthodontia, speech therapy, and problems related to hearing, social and psychological help.
After the start of the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, we developed other areas of cleft care. Parent Support Groups were established and developed for the education of families. The Parent Support Groups are also valuable for helping teachers understand the problems of children with deformities. Social workers who are supported by the foundation help with family and psychological problems of patients. Social workers are instrumental in working with the doctors to see that the patients get the necessary care for an optimum result.
Education is another primary concern of the foundation. This includes education of the parents as well as teachers in the schools, nurses, and doctors. The foundation is proud that we were the first to publish a children’s book written by a child. The children’s books deal with the child’s own concepts of the problems a child faces with a deformity such as an abnormal ear, hand, leg or cleft lip faces. Some of the children did the art for the books. These books were published and have been popular children’s stories. The books are used in the schools to help teachers and society understand the problems of a person with a deformity.
More recently, we are helping to develop cleft centers similar to ours in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. This is all done in cooperation with the Craniofacial Center at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. Also, other cleft foundations have cooperated with the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation. We are proud that we can help others. And all of you who support our foundation are a part of this outreach to lesser developed countries.
I am grateful to all of the Noordhoff Craniofacial staff and members of the Chang Gung Craniofacial department for their cooperation and help. We are a great team. I appreciate Rebecca Wang for her leadership, creativity and hard work which as helped to make our foundation a success and model for other foundations. Lastly and even more important, I am grateful to the thousands of supporters who have sent large and small gifts to the support the activities of the foundation. Your gifts allow you to participate in the activities of the foundation and are the reason for our success.
You have put a smile on the faces of many children.
M. Samuel Noordhoff MD FACS
July 1, 2002