1 July 2020
With more than 25,000 surgeries postponed due to COVID-19, Smile Train looks to resume life-saving procedures in the coming months
NEW YORK — Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft organisation, is recognizing National Cleft Awareness Month in July to raise awareness for the thousands of children worldwide who are born with a cleft and other craniofacial conditions. The month will kick-off with Smile Train’s #24HourRun4Smiles fitness fundraiser, in partnership with actress and health and wellness influencer, Amanda Cerny.
Around the world, children with untreated clefts can face a range of potentially life-threatening conditions including difficulty eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Smile Train estimates that more than 25,000 of the free cleft surgeries they provide globally were put on hold from January to May of 2020. As the world begins to recover from the impacts of the ongoing crisis, Smile Train has begun to resume the life-changing procedures in more than 50 countries where health and safety concerns have previously prevented them.
With a unique, sustainable model of educating and equipping local professionals and hospitals with the tools they need, Smile Train has qualified doctors and equipment on the ground ready to begin surgeries as soon as local guidelines allow. Several regions including Asia are slated to perform many backlogged surgeries this month.
Today, influencer Amanda Cerny will be joining Smile Train to raise awareness and funds for children with clefts. Led by its endurance fundraising team, Team EMPOWER, Smile Train’s goal is to have someone somewhere in the world running for every minute of the #24HourRun4Smiles.
“I have always been a believer that a smile has the power to impact others. I am so honoured to support Smile Train, whose goal is to ensure every child around the world has access to free cleft care and the opportunity to smile with confidence and hope,” said Amanda Cerny.
In addition to the #24HourRun4Smiles, Smile Train will also be hosting a livestream event on Facebook and YouTube on Tuesday, July 21 at 12pm ET celebrating the new 9 Reasons to Smile Family Fun Activity Booklet, filled with creative art projects designed as a psychosocial health resource for patients with clefts -- and artists of all ages. The event will welcome special guests such as Henry Baddour, Founder/Executive Director of Cleft Proud, Dr Eric Hubli, Smile Train Medical Advisory Board and Isabelle Wachsmuth, World Health Organization; as well as additional representatives of the cleft community. Smile Train regions around the globe will join in and host their own livestream events. Download the 9 Reasons to Smile Activity Booklet and join Smile Train on July 21.
“Smile Train estimates that every three minutes, a baby is born with a cleft. We are thrilled to be restarting life-saving procedures for those affected around the world during National Cleft Awareness Month,” said Susannah Schaefer, President & CEO of Smile Train. “We hope our supporters join us for 30 minutes of activity today, enabling Smile Train to offer even more free cleft treatment and comprehensive cleft care globally this year.”
To learn more about Smile Train's global efforts and to make a donation, please visit smiletrain.org.uk. Follow Smile Train on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrainUK and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/SmileTrainUK.
About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org.uk.
Smile Train Media Contacts
Senior Director of Public Relations