Changsha, China — Smile Train patient He Yumei describes her determination during Smile Train-sponsored speech therapy treatment, provided for free by Smile Train. She was born with cleft lip and palate, which were repaired, but needed further help correcting her speech.
I was born in a poor mountain village in China where my parents worked hard in the field. I spent my childhood there, unhappy. From kindergarten to primary school, I had grown up with others' derision. When I was a child, I couldn't understand why I was different from others, why playmates laughed at me, and why they refused to play with me.
I did everything alone. I walked alone, studied alone, and came back home early. I completely closed myself off. I just tried my best to be a good student in my teacher's eyes. Looking back now, I don't know how I went through such difficult times. During middle school though, I became cheerful when I realized my dream: to win a place for myself in society.
During summer vacation in 2012, I discovered Smile Train from a magazine that my uncle took from one of their partner hospitals. The news that my cleft lip and palate could be repaired by Smile Train brought me great hope. I never thought repair was possible until this point.
After my surgery, I was determined to get speech therapy. On April 16, 2013, I went to the speech therapy room at The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in Hunan Province. Ms. He, the speech pathologist, taught me slowly and explained everything in detail. She was patient while I relearned how to articulate properly. I felt embarrassed at the beginning, but I figured out that, in order to treat my speech, mistakes need to happen. Every time I learned a new articulation, I was very careful to practice it repeatedly so I could continue to replicate it. I even practiced articulation on the way to school, despite the odd looks of passersby. When I completely learned an articulation, I felt cheerful and closer to my dream.
With Ms. He’s skillful teaching and guidance, I quickly grasped the pronunciation that before eluded me.
Although I encountered some setbacks in practice, my only thought was that I wanted to speak like a normal person, nothing else mattered. Even when my roommates could no longer tolerate my articulation practice, I simply decided to practice alone in the classroom. For my dream, my future, my relatives, I felt it was all worthwhile. Fly my dream and welcome a better tomorrow.
I am now studying in Hunan Vocational College of Modern Logistics as a freshman in accounting. My new dream is to become a chief financial officer, which I think is a realistic goal. I believe that my dream will be achieved through perseverance and an earnest attitude.
Thank you Smile Train and the generous donors who give to this charitable organization for providing me speech therapy free of charge. I will cherish the precious chance you have given me. You are my power to strive, you give me a chance of rebirth, and you guide me a bright way. When I come to crossroads in my life, I will think of you and pass on my deepest love.
Before I hated destiny for making a fool of me, but now I feel grateful to destiny for such a different life experience. I believe that such experiences will help me go through difficulties in the future. I have known how to resolve obstacles before me. I was favored by fortune!