Noreen Kessler, a Kennett Square resident, has been helping improve children’s lives around the globe for nearly three decades as part of Operation Smile, writes Beccah Hendrickson for 6ABC.
The nonprofit organization travels around the world and offers free surgeries to kids born with cleft lip and cleft palate.
In the United States, the condition is often treated right away. However, in developing countries, children often must wait for years to get their chance at having corrective surgery. Operation Smile helps them reach that point.
Kessler started volunteering with the nonprofit in 1994 after she attended a lecture on the condition. That lecture completely changed the course of her career as she decided to become a pediatric nurse to be able to better serve patients on missions. She has gone on around 60 surgical programs throughout her career.
“I’ve had parents that thought it wasn’t their child after a repair,” she said. “They just stare and cry, and I’m like, ‘this is your child.'”
Kessler retired last year, and she now plans to use her free time to go on more Operation Smile missions.
Read more about Noreen Kessler at 6ABC.