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.
The ITV series Long Lost Family, on which Ariel works as lead consultant, is a huge hit with audiences all over the country, drawing down the largest share of viewing figures every week. However it is easy to forget about the people who feature in the hit show, especially what happens to them after the cameras stop rolling.
Episode 1 of series 7 saw Simon Day reunited with his birth parents, who had given him up for adoption in the 1970’s. An emotional on screen reunion brought tears to eyes of millions of viewers, but it was in the aftermath of the meeting that the drama really started.
Simon had been experiencing heart problems, and it was only through meeting his birth father James that they were able to identify these problems as a hereditary heart condition; one that Simon would require immediate medical attention for. Through the support of his newly found family, Simon was able to have the necessary surgery and prevent the condition from getting worse. The effort’s of Ariel and the Long Lost Family team saved Simon’s life.
Read more about Simon’s condition and the family reunion by clicking here (click link to open article).
Series 7 of Long Lost Family continues on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday 9th August at 9pm GMT.
Ariel had the pleasure to work with BBC One’s “Who Do You Think You Are ” team on an episode featuring actress Lesley Sharp. The ‘Scott & Bailey’ actress was adopted as a baby and wanted to find out more about her biological father.
A clip featuring Lesley can be found here – Lesley Sharp
With the help of Ariel the WDYTYA team were able track down members of Lesley’s father’s family for what would prove to be an emotional reunion.
A full interview with Lesley can be found on this link (click to open)
Season seven of ITV’s Long Lost Family aired on Wednesday 26th July, capturing the largest audience of the evening with 4.2 million people tuning in at 9pm, and an extra 230,000 viewers watching on ITV+1.
Ariel and her team had undertaken all of the research and investigation to trace the missing family members for the show, so it’s particularly rewarding to see their hard work pay off with such high viewing figures.
The Daily Telegraph’s review (click here to open) said: “Long Lost Family offers cathartic balm in a world of psychic stress”. The joy of watching previously lost family members reunited in highly emotional scenes dominated the headlines of other national newspapers too.
Many people took to Twitter to express their love for the show as the hashtag ‘Long Lost Family’ was trending around the country throughout the evening. People who have been helped by Ariel and the LLF team also posted about their experiences of working with the team, expressing their gratitude to the show. This included Ann Beggs, one of the reunited sisters featured in episode one.
To catch up on episode one of series seven, as well as previous seasons, click on the link to visit the ITV Hub (click link to watch).
Episode two of the series airs on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday 2nd August.