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Clefts What Is Smile Train ?

Updated on March 20, 2016

Cleft Babies

Celebrities That Have Helped Support Smile Train!

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Children Of Smile Train Before & After

Cleft Can You Help?

What is Smile Train? To Make A Donation Visit the website www.smiletrain.org

Headquartered in New York City and founded in 1999, Smile Train provides free corrective cleft surgery in 87 countries,training local doctors and providing hospital funding for the procedures.

Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where millions of children are suffering with untreated clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly and aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job.

Shame & Isolation

Being born with a cleft in a developing country is truly a curse. Every baby born in Uganda with a cleft is given the name Ajok which means literally, “cursed by God” with some newborns killed or abandoned right after birth.

The Good News

The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.

Ways To Get Involved

TEAM EMPOWER

Turn miles into smiles — join Team EMPOWER, Smile Train's athletic and endurance fundraisers.

JOURNEY OF SMILES

Join fellow Smile Train supporters and visit partner hospitals and patients in the field.

HOST A SPECIAL FUNDRAISER

Gather friends and family to host a special fundraiser for Smile Train. Use your imagination and get ready to have fun helping children with cleft!

WEDDINGS

Your wedding is the beginning of a new life. Make it a new beginning for a child.

Why I Am So Passionate About This Cause

When I was a little girl, I was in an accident and split my upper lip severely. It was in the summer before I had started kindergarten. I was rushed to the emergency room and had many stitches. I remember how painful it was and when the stitches came out it was obvious something had happened. I felt so ugly and ashamed. I started school for the first time, and the kids in school really made fun of me and it damaged my self confidence when I was a child. It was hard to look in the mirror and my parents could not afford any surgery. I was fortunate because as I grew up my lip started to look normal again. I think going through that experience made me realize how these children feel. In some countries Babies that are born with a cleft are abandoned and sometimes killed. It's not just about looks or vanity it can be a health hazard as well. These children really have no hope. Most children are from countries that are really poor and some cannot live because of infection or disease. Most children feel isolated and ashamed. All it takes is $250 for one child to have a complete surgery. What is great about this charity is 100% of money donated goes to the surgery and whats nice is you will receive a before and after picture of the child you have helped. If you cannot afford $250 any donation of any size can help a child. I just feel really passionate about this cause and wanted to get the word out about them. Most dental offices know about this charity. I found out about them through a coworker at a dental office I formerly worked at. She had a great idea, instead of doing an employee gift exchange we collected enough money to complete one child to have a surgery. I felt wow! this is awesome. How much stuff do you really need in this life? I felt like this was the best Christmas present I ever purchased. We gave a smile for Christmas. Can you imagine a child getting their smile back? I think we take it for granted a chance to laugh and smile. These children most likely have never experienced this before. My goal is to try and raise enough awareness and money that many children can get their smile back and feel good about themselves. I hope that many children this year will have a chance to have the surgery. There are many celebrities that also have helped, like the late Robin Williams. It's not surprising to me because he has always made me laugh and smile over the years with all his wonderful movies. If you can share and spread the word about this article or even make a donation that would be awesome. Sometimes we just don't realize how fortunate we are to laugh and smile. Learning and sharing on the internet can be so powerful. I hope we can all make a difference?

Sincerely,

Sandy

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