An Inspiring Story about Devalagan Muthalagan ❤

Hello readers! What is it like, growing up being a little different than everyone else? This certainly rings true for Devalagan Muthalagan. Today, he is 23 years old and is actively pursuing his dream. However, 2 years ago, Devalagan thought this dream would not materialise and it would remain a ‘daydream’. Devalagan was born with Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate (commonly known as CLP), which required multiple operations.

What is Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate (CLP)? 
Cleft lip and palate also known as orofacial cleft is a group of conditions that include cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP) and both together (CLP). A cleft lip contains an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. The opening may be on one side, both sides or in the middle. A left palate is when the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose. These disorders can result in feeding problems, speech problems, hear problems and frequent ear infections. [1]
Cleft lip and palate are the result of tissues of the face not joining properly during development. As such, they are a type of birth defects. The cause is unknown in most cases. [1]
As for unilateral cleft lip/palate, it affects only one side. It may be fairly minor (appearing as a small nick in the lip); extensive involving the lip, alveolus (dental ridge), and palate (roof of the mouth); or at a level between these two extremes. Most often, unilateral cleft lip also affects the nose. The cleft lip’s separated muscles pull with an asymmetrical tension against the nostril on the cleft side, causing it to become larger with a more horizontal nostril as well. This pull also acts to shorten the central column of nose cartilage dividing the nostrils, causing the nose to be lower than usual. [2]

Devalagan underwent operations to repair his cleft lip and palate when he was 3 and 6 months old.  However, due to financial constraints, he missed at least 6 other stages of operations to repair his condition completely. During this period, he constantly struggled with negative thoughts and friends around him constantly teased him sumbing (cleft lip in Malay). It doesn’t matter whether he won a price at the poem reciting competition or became the president of a club in school. Many did not look past the little notch that remained on his lip. He did not allow this to hinder his spirit eventually.

He excelled in his studies and won a full scholarship from Public Service Department to study medicine at the International Medical University (IMU). 

Devalagan with his classmates
In year 2014, he met with the medical experts from Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur. He shared his financial concerns and his doctor advised him to apply for the Khazanah-IHH Healthcare Fund. He actually succeeded  in getting the aid and completed his final operation in August. The best part of all, he graduates as a doctor in October.

A step closer to his dream of becoming a surgeon! 
What can we learn from the story is that no matter whatever obstacles you have faced, it should not dampen your spirit. This is a truly inspiring story that one should follow.

Devalagan with his parents and two sisters 
Khazanah IHH Healthcare Fund (the Fund) represents Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) and IHH Healthcare Berhad (IHH)'s collective commitment to fulfil fundamental responsibility to the many communities through a unified platform with their tagline “Restoring Health, Changing Lives”.

Launched in July 2012, the objective of the Fund is to facilitate the provision of partial and fully sponsored medical treatment to the need patients in IHH Home markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey. Patients who qualify for financial assistance will be treated in IHH's network of world-class doctors and medical facilities.
  • RM50 million Fund is disbursed over a span of five years until 2017.
  • 70% of the Fund amounting to RM35 million has been allocated to help patients in Malaysia and the remaining 30% - Singapore and Turkey. 
  • To date, extended help to some 1,000 people in Malaysia.
For more information about the Khazanah-IHH Healthcare Fund, please visit

Sources taken from:
[1] Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate -
[2] Unilateral Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate -

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