Nonprofit group helps local child with cleft lip

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Children born with a cleft lip or cleft palate are getting help from Operation Smile.

The nonprofit group has helped many here in the U.S. and around the world. Insurance typically doesn't pay for the surgery.

"The first year he was born it was really rocky," said Chad and Jessica Soares, whose one year old son Liam was born with a cleft palate. "It was a lot of tears and emotion that first year."

We first met Liam about a year ago. Two surgeries later, Liam's parents say their son has a new smile thanks to Operation Smile and a team of doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

"I can't thank them enough for everything they do, because without them I don't think it would be possible," said Jessica.

The parents say one surgery, cost between $60,000 and $80,000 out of pocket. Insurance does not cover the surgery calling it cosmetic.

"It really isn't cosmetic because it affects their way of life, the way they eat, talk. Later on in life they could get bullied."

Liam will need one more surgery when he's around 8 years old and Operation Smile will be there all along the way, even when it comes time for braces.

"We are really, really grateful," said Jessica. "Really blessed."

Liam and his family will be a part of this weekend's Dancing with the Carolina Stars, one of the biggest fundraisers for Operation Smile.

The event is happening Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Empire Room in Downtown Greensboro.

For more information and how you can help donate to Operation Smile visit

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