“I declare to be cheerful and bring joy to children” with these words Prof. Henryk Skarżyński thanked the youngest patients and their parents gathered in the World Hearing Center in Kajetany, during the ceremony of awarding him an Order of the Smile. On September 22, 2013, this special prize awarded exclusively by children, was presented to Prof. Skarżyński by Mr. Marek Michalak, the Chancellor of the International Chapter of the Order of the Smile and the Spokesman for Children’s Rights. The ceremony was also attended by Mrs. Henryka Krzywonos, the Knight of the Order of the Smile, Mrs. Anna Maria Wesołowska – the Member of the International Chapter of the Order of the Smile, and Mrs. Barbara Kolago – the Secretary of the Chapter.
From the first Order of the Smile till now, children have awarded over 900 people from over 40 countries of the world. Among the Knights of the Order of the Smile are such personages as: the Holy Father John Paul II, the Spiritual Head of Buddhist Church in Tibet – Dalajlama, Mother Theresa from Calcutta, Tove Janson – creator of the Moomins and Astrid Lindgren – the author of Pipi Langstrum, Silvia the Queen of Sweden, the First Lady of Poland – Jolanta Kwaśniewska, the writer Ewa Szelburg – Zarembina and many others. This distinguished group was joined by Professor Henryk Skarżyński. As we read in the Laud: “We, the children gathered here, just want to thank – the best we can. Our parents claim that the hearing is the basis for communication, but most of us do not understand what it means. Nevertheless we are happy to be able to talks to our teachers at school, play with our friends or sing a song. It is cool to hear the dog barking and watch a favorite movie without reading the subtitles. Thanks to Your work we study foreign languages and play various instruments. You caused that we can hear the whole world and that is why we thank you Professor very much. (…) We want to thank you for all this time you have scarified for us, so we could recover. You are the coolest ear Professor!!!”.
– Children are so vulnerable and at the same time they can be so naturally grateful. That is why, from all awards and distinctions I have received – and there is over two hundred of them – this Order of the Smile I value exceptionally. – said Prof. Skarżyński during the ceremony. – As the managing director I have always tried to make the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing – where as in every hospital sometimes we have to perform unpleasant procedures or examinations – the place friendly for youngest patients. The place where I wouldn’t be some stranger in a white gown, but the doctor whose smile they can count on. I am extremely happy that the children – by choosing me for the award – smiled back at me. I thank them for this from the bottom of my heart. With that they have supported our great idea of treating hearing disorders. – Prof. Skarżyński was saying.
The idea of the Order of the Smile was born in the editor’s office of Kurier Polski, in year 1968. It was inspired by the interview with Wanda Chotomska in the 5th anniversary of bed-time cartoon “Jacek i Agatka”. In this interview the author, Mrs. Chotomska, told the story about a boy from a rehabilitation hospital not far from Warsaw, who wanted to confer an award from children. The journalists considered that it could be the initiative of the children themselves – to award the good work of adults, therefore the national contest for an order’s project was announced.
The ceremony of conferring the title of Knight of the Order of the Smile on Prof. Skarżyński was organized together with a family picnic with many attractions for the youngest. There were: experiments in physics and chemistry, demonstrations of the old hand crafts, presentations of vehicles and equipments of the Police, Fire Brigade and Military, contests and quizzes with prizes, concerts of Majka Jeżowska and Gawęda Group. Even an autumn weather could not spoil the perfect moods.