Farewell Message from Duncan……

I would have loved to see the sweet beginning of Saline’s much anticipated smile which also marks the end of the journey we have traveled for the last four years on a very rough and painful road,i have to leave since it is unavoidable .  Out of nothing and without any ray of hope,we started and stumbled.Little did we know that at some point God would bond us with selfless,loving and generous people who have now seen us this far.

On behalf of Saline,her mom,relatives,school community,friends,neighbors,my family and myself,i thank you all most sincerely.You denied yourselves and sacrificed to see her smile and integrate socially in the society.You’ve, indeed,inculcated in me values i would cherish for life.It’s great that a young girl like Heather raised funds to help one unfortunate girl from one corner of the world before she even saw her,Valeria of Loretta P.E school, among others, whose passionate efforts to raise funds really touched my heart.
My gratitude goes out to every person who came on board for her sake.I didn’t chance to meet everyone but let me mention a few. Tame’s family, Muller’s family, Nugent’s family, Jennifer’s family, Dr.Dagum and his team,Stony Brook Univ.Hospital, Diane Knoblach/ Loretta P.E School, Smile Rescue Fund For Kids, SmileTrain staff-Kenya, Coolsmiles Orthodontics, Africa project group.
Dr.Leon and his family remain an enigmatic unit,a miracle and a blessing throughout this journey.You have lit up our faces,created a difference in us and I pray you don’t stop with Saline. Many other needy  children are out there  ‘ONE AT A TIME’ and the list will grow.
Many people who know Saline’s journey to the USA ask for and about things not worth mentioning here but all we are pursuing is SALINE’S SMILE,exactly what we’ve been yearning for from the beginning
I appreciate your love,care and concern.Welcome to Kenya and share with us as you serve humanity across the globe.

Solar Lighting Committee Update

There was a meeting of the electricity committee on 9/26/13.  The goal is to purchase lighting for some of the children’s homes so that they can finish their schoolwork in the evening without using kerosene, which is both dangerous and expensive.  The solar battery life is about five years.  Several committee members had information about different lights available, but of special interest is one company which is located in Nairobi.  This company would deliver the lights to the village.  The cost will be between $10 and $13 for each light.  Several different lights will be purchased before the next meeting so convenience, cost and brightness can be compared.

The first goal will be between 25 and 50d lights depending on cost.  Duncan will determine how the lights are distributed.  He may take 10 of 50 and donate them to families that have the most need.  Perhaps he will charge a $5 fee for the other lights so the monies can be used to purchase more lights.

Next meeting October 25th at the Emma Clarke Library – purchased lights will be compared at that time.  Duncan will attend.

Clean Water Committee Meeting Update

The following was submitted by Jennifer Crean:
We had discussions about how many families have some sort of rooftop rain collection apparatus currently and whether this brings the family sufficient water during their dry months.
Duncan states that the main rainy season is between March and May, and that the secondary rainy season is between Oct and Nov, and a little into December.  See this link for specific amounts last season
Currently there are two types of homes and structures. Those with Thatched roofs and those with Tin roofs.
According to Duncan the best method is roof top collection which fills into big plastic collectors which can be obtained in Kenya.
For homes with Thatched Roofs, either there could be a series of gutters affixed to the exterior walls of the house, (jetting out far enough not to be encumbered by the thatched roof overhang) or Jasper’s idea was to affix a v type structure, tilted which funnels the water into a pipe and into the collector.  He proposes that a bracket would be installed on the roof to hold the collector.
Another option that was discussed is a central collection structure which allows more surface area in which to collect the rainwater, but according to Duncan must be maintained and guarded.
Hannah would like to see funnels and jugs to each house to at least make villagers are able to collect some water each time it rains, and she mentioned that water can be sterilized by leaving it out in a clear plastic jug in the sun.  She also mentioned using a tarp to collect water as well.
It is decided that prior to the big meeting on Oct 25th that we need to meet one more time to narrow the focus and pick a direction.  We also need additional information about cost of items such as the collection jugs, and pvc pipe or gutter material to use.  Duncan will work on getting pricing for these items which will need to be purchased in Kenya.
Work in progress
Your comments are welcome.

How is Saline? – Observations From Duncan

How is Saline doing?  This is a common question asked by many of us. Not just from a medical perspective, but psychologically as well.  I asked Duncan to provide his observations.  I’m happy to report the following:

“It is a great delight that Saline’s confidence and self-esteem is already evident through her more smiles, more giggles and uncontrolled desire to admire herself in the mirror due to the surgeries so far accomplished – closing her once wide deformed palate and face. She tells me to take her pictures and send to her mother, it is irresistible. What a looming great happiness, more and wider smiles once done! Thanking her friends and generous contributors all the way.”   – Duncan

Update: Saline and African Project: Next Meeting – Oct 25th

Saline092013Here is a quick progress update on Saline and the African Project to bring clean water, solar lighting and training for the challenged children in the village.

1) Saline has been undergoing a series of fluid injections in order to expand her skin in anticipation of her next surgery which has been scheduled for Monday, September 16.  Dr. Alex Dagum will perform an extensive series of procedures to close her facial defect with two grafts as well as create a nose using a rib graft.  The surgery will take place at Stony Book Hospital and take approximately 4-5 hours.   There will be two additional surgeries before she can return home.

2) Duncan has been excused from his teaching responsibilities by the Kenyan government for a three month period of time in order to accompany Saline.  In order to keep his job, he will have to return home at the end of September or early October. Unfortunately, due to the number of surgeries and the anticipated healing time, Dr. Dagum does not feel that Saline can return home until sometime in November.  This creates three dilemmas.  First, in order to legally operate on Saline, we need a local guardian.  Second, we need someone to accompany Saline back to Nairobi and the adult that travels with her may need to be her guardian.  Finally, we need a host family that is willing to supervise her recovery.  Volunteers and suggestions are welcome.

3) I would like to schedule a meeting to discuss our findings before Duncan returns home.  Save the date: Friday October 25, 7:00 pm, Emma Clark Library. I realize that everyone may not be available, however it is important to have representation from each committee so we can move forward.

Once again, your participation is greatly appreciated.

Saline has arrived!

Saline has safely arrived and is staying with her host family in Stony Brook ahead of her upcoming surgery. Now 12 years old, Saline suffers from a cleft palate as well as bout of flesh eating bacteria, which caused even more serious damage. Dr. Alex Dagum will lead the surgical team at Stony Brook University Hospital to repair the damage, the funding for which came from friends, family and generous donors over the past two years. A special thank you must go to the wonderful families hosting Saline and her teacher, Duncan, during their month-long stay in New York. 

Please join us in welcoming Saline to our community and wishing her well in her series of upcoming surgeries!

Our fundraising efforts are ongoing, and we appreciate any support you can offer. To donate, please visit our website at


Smile Rescue Fund for Kids Bringing Saline From Kenya To Stony Brook

I’m happy to say that the Kenyan government has granted Saline a medical visa and passport to come to here for surgery.  The Smile Rescue Fund for Kids supplied all financial records and legal documents necessary to the Kenyan consulate.   This was our last major obstacle.  I am in the process of buying airline tickets for Saline and her adult tutor, Duncan.  We owe a lot of gratitude to Esther, our Kenyan contact, for helping our cause.

This has not been an easy road for Saline.  As you may know, last winter we raised enough money to fund a plastic surgery team in Nairobi to perform the procedure.  Unfortunately, the surgery was not successful.  This was a devastating disappointment for Saline, her family and all of her supporters back here at home.  After that, the Smile Rescue Fund did not give up on Saline but renewed its efforts to bring her here.   We anticipate a series of complex surgeries over the course of three to six months with no guarantee of success.  However, we are very optimistic and very grateful to Dr. Dagum, his colleagues and Stony Brook University Hospital for donating their services to help Saline.  This will be her best opportunity for a successful result.  See article in Times Beacon Record Newspaper.

I am also very grateful to all of our wonderful supporters and fundraisers for their efforts in making Saline’s dream of living a normal life a possibility.

Based on Dr. Dagum’s and the hospital’s schedule, arrangements are being made to bring Saline and Duncan here at the end of May.

At this time, we are looking for volunteers to house Saline and Duncan for part, or all, of their stay.

Please forward this story to your facebook friends.  Hopefully with your help we will be able to help more children like Saline.  Without us, they have no hope.


An Update on Saline……

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I received received an email from my contact in Kenya last week.  Our efforts to bring Saline to the U.S. for surgery have been blocked by her inability to get a visa and passport due to lack of a birth certificate.  For the past year, we have been appealing and diligently looking for a legal diplomatic workaround.  Finally, on January 9th, Saline will be granted an interview for a visa.  Arrangements have been made to transport Saline and her teacher Duncan to Nairobi for the appointment.
As the year comes to a close, on behalf of Saline, I want to thank all of our SRFK loyal friends and supporters.  Your support, contributions and fundraising efforts are well appreciated.   Once we get proper credentials, I will buy airline tickets for Saline and Duncan.  Due to the severity of her facial deformity, Dr. Alex Dagum and his medical team anticipate preforming a series of necessary surgeries and will require her staying here for approximately 6 months.
In the meantime, please forward this email to your friends and online contacts.  Tax deductible donations can easily be made via Paypal on our website.
I remain cautiously optimistic and hope to bring you good news soon.
Founder, Smile Rescue Fund for Kids, Inc.

$8000.00 Raised by Medical and Dental Residents in NYC Turtle Bay Happy Hour Fundraiser

May 17th was a big day for Saline, a 12 year old girl living in the Kenya.  She will benefit from the money raised which will help fund her remaining surgeries.  The fundraiser was so successful that we will begin looking for another child to help.

Congratulations and credit goes to the event committee organized by Drs. Melanie Baum and Isaac Bar.

The follow are responsible for the successful fundraiser:

Melanie Baum

Isaac Bar

Micah Berman

Annie Brandenburg

Kevin Small

David Rothman

Elysa Kahan

Samantha Safier

Jodi Klempner

If anyone is interested in joining this great cause, please contact me directly:

Dr. Leon Klempner, Founder, The Smile Rescue Fund for Kids  – Join us on Facebook for follow ups and new upcoming events!

Heather Raises $900. To Help Saline

Who said that one person can’t make a difference?   Obviously, Heather never got the memo.  This remarkable 10 year old girl decided she was going to help raise money to help another young girl that was not as fortunate.  Heather sold tee shirts, and obtain donations from her church, friends, neighbors and anyone else willing to help.  She emailed me and announced her lofty goal of $500.  Well, this week she came into my office and presented me with a check for almost $900.00.  On behalf of Saline, a great big “thanks you”.  I am amazed, what do you think?