The True Gift Of A Smile

19 June 2015 | Smile Train

There is truly no better gift a child can receive than their very first smile.

One man who understands how powerful the gift of a smile can be is longtime Smile Train supporter and friend, Mr. Horace Whitmore. At 93 years young, Mr. Whitmore lives a quiet and simple life in California. He serves as a Deacon at his church and is an active member in his community. With roots in the South, he worked in the metals trade for many happy years.

His beautiful wife of 61 years, Catherine, passed in 2008. When he saw an advertisement about Smile Train he said, “To go through life without hope or help would be devastating for these kids. I have no children of my own, so it’s a way for me to help.”

With Mr. Whitmore’s 94th birthday quickly approaching he decided that this year he wouldn’t be the one receiving the gifts. Instead, he selflessly committed to helping 400 children with clefts get the best presents they could ever wish to receive: brand new smiles. In his own words, this was his way of “adopting 400 children!”

On February 11, 2015 Mr. Whitmore turned 94. To help celebrate his special day, our Smile Train partners around the world held birthday parties in his honor. Our patients, and their families, who directly benefit from Mr. Whitmore’s generosity were in attendance to eat cake, laugh, and best of all – smile.

I am often humbled, but never surprised, by the generosity of our supporters. It is because of this generosity that we are able to help so many children with unrepaired clefts receive the free surgery and related treatment they so desperately need.

In his own words, Mr. Horace Whitmore explains his very personal reasons why giving to Smile Train is so important to him:

“This world we live in is fleeting slowly surely passing away and one day all who have received the gift of life here on this earth will be changed into a new everlasting life —For God is the author and beginning of giving (John 3:16) . I believe that in some small way my giving what God has given me all belongs to him in the first place. I believe giving to Smile Train to help needy children change their lives from misery, heart aches and shame, to smile with joy and a thankful heart would please God and bring glory to his name. That would be worth more than all the riches that this world holds and that is my joy and hope.”

I hope that Mr. Whitmore’s story and his 94 years of smiles inspires you as much as it inspires all of us here at Smile Train.

Happy birthday Mr. Whitmore – thank you for helping us change the world one smile at a time!

Susannah Schaefer,
CEO, Smile Train