On 14th March 2020, the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA) raised £50,000 at the OPSA ‘Behind a Smile’ Charity Fundraising Evening.
The event was a tremendous success and attended by many wonderful advocates of the life-changing surgery provided by OPSA. The facial surgery enabled through OPSA continues to transform the lives of many babies and children in Pakistan. The money raised through the generous donations by fundraiser attendees will provide an extraordinary opportunity for babies and children in Pakistan to receive the medical attention that they deserve and the ability to live a dignified and fulfilling existence.
Ariel was thrilled to be there alongside all the OPSA Charity Trustees, the Lord Mayor Kingston upon Hull and the fabulous Lady Dodd who donated £10,000 on behalf of the Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation. The attendees were also treated to a marvellous video message by the reigning Miss England World 2019 Bhasha Mukherjee.
Ariel is delighted at the success of the OPSA ‘Behind a Smile’ Charity Fundraising Evening and continues to support all of the tremendous work provided by the OPSA Charity.
OPSA Trustee Kate Adie was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honour list, to go along with the OBE she was awarded in 1993.
The award was given for services to the media in celebration of the Kate’s long and illustrious career as a journalist, specialising as a war correspondent.
Now an author and freelance journalist, Kate has been a Trustee of OPSA since the beginning of 2018.
To visit the OPSA website please Click Here
Did you see episode 7 of the latest Long Lost Family series? Broadcast on Tuesday 28th August, the episode focused on Maureen, who had been trying to find her brother Keith for 40 years. Keith was adopted at birth, with Maureen running into dead end after dead end in her search.
After getting in touch with the Long Lost Family team, Maureen’s search made it’s way to Ariel and the search team, who set about tracing Keith. Little did anyone know, that this search would take them to Australia, where Keith had been living for 4 years, and now had 3 children and 8 grandchildren!
Through the search work and intermediary services of Ariel and her team, Maureen and Keith are reunited in the UK. However the story doesn’t end there, as Keith wants to know more about the birth mother who gave him up all those years ago.
This type of search work requires dedicated time pouring over birth records, for which expert help is needed. In this episode of Long Lost Family we see Charlotte Bruce-Lloyd, one of Ariel’s colleagues, explain to Keith how to pull apart search data, and piece together the circumstances which led to his being given up for adoption.
If you missed the episode you can catch up on the ITV hub by clicking on this link – www.itv.com.
With Episode 4 of ITV’s award winning Long Lost Family airing last Tuesday evening (7th August), we have reached the halfway point of Series 8 of LLf. We’ve seen some ground breaking reunions, including the youngest searcher in the show’s history and the first transgender search. The latest episode of the show reunited former England Rugby star Spencer Brown with the mother and sister he was separated from at birth. You can watch a clip of the emotional scenes below:
If you missed the first four episodes of the series, or if you just want to relive the emotional scenes, then you can catch up on the ITV Hub (click link).
Still to come this series we meet Bronwen, now based in Canada, who gave up her son in 1960s West London, herself just 18 and unable to care for a baby. Her description of the 6 weeks she spent agonisingly trying to care for Mark makes for chilling viewing:
“I knew he needed somebody who was grown-up enough to be a mother. However much I loved him, I wasn’t.”
Where is Mark now? Can the two be reunited after all this time? Bronwen had always hoped to see her son again – will she finally get her chance? Tune into ITV1 at 9pm tomorrow night (14th August) to find out.
Ariel Bruce and team provide all of the search work and intermediary services for Long Lost Family.
As a trustee for the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA), Ariel Bruce has been hard at work increasing the profile of the charity alongside members of the medical team and Ambassadors such as Kate Adie CBE. With the October Cleft Camp not far off, exciting things are happening within the charity:
Emirates Airline On Board!
All at OPSA are delighted to be partnering with Emirates Airlines who will be flying the medical team out to Pakistan free of charge. We are very grateful to Emirates for their generosity, ensuring that as many medical volunteers can be flown out for each camp as possible. This way the charity can have maximum effect in the area and transform the lives of as many people as possible.
2018 October Cleft Camp
Ariel hopes to join the medical team in Pakistan for the October Cleft Camp. It will have been a year since her last visit, so she is excited to get out there and get stuck in. As well as continuing to carry out life changing operations on babies and young children born with facial deformities, the OPSA team is developing the work it does with breast cancer sufferers in the area.
Cleft Camp Documentary Film
With the help of award winning film maker Daisy Asquith, Ariel has started planning the filming of one of the upcoming Cleft Camps for a documentary film. Asquith, who has worked with Ariel in the past, is a lecturer at Goldsmith University, and is helping to pick out a young and talented film maker to join the medical team in Pakistan. More information to follow soon.
Former features editor of the Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent, Genevieve Fox has released “a cancer memoir with a difference” (The Guardian), including a mention of Ariel Bruce. ‘Milkshakes & Morphine: A Memoir of Love & Loss’ was published in late January by Square Peg, Penguin Random House.
The book details the life of Fox and her young family as they come to terms with her cancer, but also the legacy it has had on her life – orphaning her at the age of six as her mother succumbed to the disease.
Not only does the book cover the cancer battle, but also the pains of growing up as an orphan. Fox’s brother came to Ariel to help track down their step father, which she duly did only to find he had died a few short months before.
You can pick up a copy of the book here – www.penguin.com
In April 2016 Mr Justice Peter Jackson ruled that that Mr David Spencer was able to test the DNA of the man he thought to be his late birth father, in order to ascertain the threat of a possible hereditary cancer gene. The ruling was upheld by Lady Justice King yesterday (7th Feb) in a landmark case that could encourage more DNA testing in cases of possible hereditary health risk.
“Knowledge of our biological identity is a central component of our existence,” the judge said… “The establishment of the truth is a goal in itself”.
Mr Justice Jackson ruled that “knowledge of our biological identity is a central component of our existence” when allowing the DNA tests to go ahead in 2016, going as far to say that the tests would “serve the public interest”.
Lady Justice King highlighted the “interests of the living in knowing their biological identity”… it was “inevitable and right” that Mr Spencer’s wishes should be granted.
In upholding the ruling at yesterday’s Court of Appeal, Lady Justice King highlighted the “interests of the living in knowing their biological identity” and said that it was “inevitable and right” that Mr Spencer’s wishes should be granted.
Read the full article here – The Times.
Ariel has been a supporter of the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal for some time, visiting Pakistan with the team last October, witnessing first hand the vital work they carry out.
On a recent trip to OPSA’s HQ in Hull for a trustees meeting Ariel was made a trustee of OPSA.
Ariel will focus on recruiting Ambassadors to join the OPSA team to help to promote the work being undertaken. Alongside Journalist Kate Adie and actors Stephanie Cole and Debra Stephenson, Ariel will invite more Ambassadors from the sporting and entertainment world.
To read more about the good work that OPSA carries out please visit their website – www.opsacharity.com
OPSA – “Giving children a face they can live with.”
In October of 2017, Ariel was able to visit Pakistan with the charity OPSA (Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal) to observe the vital work they are doing operating on young children with facial abnormalities. Children like Arfat, above, who had life changing surgery as a baby thanks to OPSA.
Ariel Bruce and her colleagues are supporting the charity. Ariel gained valuable insight ‘on the ground’ in Pakistan where the work is being carried out. Using second hand and recommissioned surgical equipment, the medical team from OPSA train local doctors to carry out often life saving operations that are common place in the UK.
OPSA is a UK registered charity based in Hull, Yorkshire, and the OPSA team travel to Pakistan from the North East of England, joined by other doctors from Northern Ireland and Turkey, twice a year to carry out these much needed operations and train local doctors.
Children come from hundreds of miles away to receive truly life changing surgery which they would certainly not have access to without the existence and support of OPSA. Without such corrective surgery these children would never learn to talk or feed properly, which can lead to being ostracised by their families and by society as a whole.
Ariel and her team have been spreading the word about the good work that OPSA carries out. OPSA is supported by journalist Katie Adie and actors Stephanie Cole and Debra Stephenson, who are OPSA ambassadors.
There is much work to be done; OPSA’s aim is to raise a further £20,000, which will enable it to open another operating theatre in Pakistan, thereby helping many more children in the area.
For more information about OPSA and the great work that they do please click here – OPSA Charity Website.