Operation Smile was founded in 1982 when Dr. William (Bill) P. Magee, Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathleen (Kathy), a nurse and clinical social worker, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children's cleft lip and cleft palate. What they found was overwhelming. "People pushed their babies at us" recalls Kathy. "They tugged at our sleeves with tears in their eyes and begged us to help their children”. In Naga City, approximately 300 families arrived hoping their children would receive surgery, but the team could only treat 40 children. As they prepared to leave, the Magees made a promise they would return to help more children.
The Operation Smile Italia Onlus Foundation has been in operation since 2000, with more than 120 medical voluteers, nurses and health workers, involved in global medical missions and in cure’s international and national projects.
The Foundation contributes to the international programs sustainability through fundraising activities and cash donations from companies and individuals.