Help for Xinie in the Philippines

Xinie’s family came from Danglas in the Philippines, a very remote town about 140 miles away from Baguio, the nearest city. Her mother, is 19 years old and dependent on Xinie’s grandmother who takes care of her five children: including Xinie’s mother.

When Xinie was born last October 20, 2010 with a cleft lip, the family didn’t even think of getting her cleft repaired. With their current economic status, they had given up hope of cleft surgery; they knew that such an operation would cost them more than they could hope to afford. Last year, they came across Jerry Languisan, one of Project Luke’s community volunteers. Jerry told them that he would bring Xinie to Baguio for surgery. But with a meager family income, they knew that that they won’t be able to shoulder the travel and food expenses they would be incurring. The family told the volunteer that they would still have to save enough money to cover the expenses of their travel.

Some months later Jerry went to Baguio to assist some cataract patients, he mentioned the case and estimated that the family would be needing around Php4,000.00 to come to Baguio. Luckily, Project Luke had just received a grant from Smile Train; Jerry visited the family in Danglas and told them the good news –Xinie didn’t have to wait for months for the operation.

Last May, together with her mother and grandmother, Xinie begin her 7-hour trip to Baguio for the first time. She received surgery from Dr. Dennis Dominguez at Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital. While waiting for her followup, the family said that they had been cutting down on food so they could still have money for bus fare when they go home — even the Xinie’s milk formula had been sacrificed. Project Luke decided to cover their food for their remaining stay at the hospital. The grandmother keep on thanking Smile Train and Project Luke, and to pay forward what blessings she had received now, she hopes and prays that someday Xinie would become a productive citizen.

Project Luke has been a partner since 2008, and received a Smile Grant in September 2010–which funded the travel for Xinie’s family. They have been recently awarded a grant for speech therapy programs, which will allow Project Luke social workers to provide basic speech therapy for Smile Train patients.

4th Annual Smile Train Triathlon

Smile Train Triathlon
Wake Forest, NC – Registration is well under way for the 4th Annual Smile Train Tri. This amazing event was started in 2008 by triathlete and race director Rebecca Warriner.

The “Miles For Smiles” triathlon is  a sprint triathlon: participants compete in a 250 meter swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run throughout Wake Forest. With the generous support of BASF and other local sponsors, 100% of all of the race fees go directly to Smile Train. Adding in donations that many of the competitors make and collect through the Tri-and-Fundraise program, the Smile Train Tri has already accounted for over $83,000 in donations to provide free cleft lip and plate surgeries.

The race may be hard, but it’s not as hard as every day is for these parents and children who need our help.”
Rebecca Warriner

With a new course, Rebecca and her team of volunteers have set the bar higher than ever for 2011, hoping to collect $17,500 in registration fees and $15,000 in seperate donations to bring their total to a whopping $115,500. That would be more than 460 cleft surgeries in 4 years!! In honor of this wonderful milestone, Nestle’s 100 Grand has donated their candy bars for the participants, volunteers, and spectators.

A very special thank you to Rebecca, and all of the sponsors, participants, and volunteers for helping us create so many smiles.

Sign up for the Smile Train Triathlon today!

The 4th Annual Smile Train Triathlon was an outstanding success!! Last weekend, over 400 competitors and hundreds of volunteers and spectators converged on Wake Forest, NC and raised more than $30,000 for Smile Train.

We’d like to extend our deepest thanks to everyone involved in the Smile Train Triathlon. Be sure to check out the slideshow below and share your stories from the event in the comments section.

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Donations in Memory of Doc Holliday matched up to $15,000!

New York, NY – Criticaly acclaimed novelist Mary Doria Russell has established a $15,000 matching fund for donations to Smile Train in memory of Doc Holliday.Novel, DOC, match donations for Smile Train

The subject of her novel, DOC, John Henry “Doc”  Holliday was born with a cleft palate, which was repaired by his uncle, Dr. John Stiles Holilday, in 1851. This was the first cleft palate surgery in North America. His devoted mother took it upon herself to teach him how to speak correctly and jump start his education on his way to becoming a dentist, and ultimately the legend that way know today.

In celebration of the release of her new novel through Random House, Mary Doria Russell has generously set up a matching gift fund for her readers to donate to Smile Train. Mary will match each the first $15,000 of donations made in Doc’s memory making it a total of $30,000: that’s 120 new smiles we can create!

Please make a donation in memory of Doc and help us provide surgeries to desperate children in over 75 countries. A small excerpt from this highly acclaimed novel is posted below and you can visit the official DOC website to read more and order your own copy.

He began to die when he was twenty-one, but tuberculosis is slow and sly and subtle. The disease took fifteen years to hollow out his lungs so completely they could no longer keep him alive. In all that time, he was allowed a single season of something like happiness.

When he arrived in Dodge City in 1878, Dr. John Henry Holliday was a frail twenty-six-year-old dentist who wanted nothing grander than to practice his profession in a prosperous Kansas cow town. Hope – cruelest of the evils that escaped Pandora’s box – smiled on him gently all that summer. While he lived in Dodge, the quiet life he yearned for seemed to lie within his grasp.

At thirty, he would be famous for his part in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. A year later, he would become infamous when he rode at Wyatt Earp’s side to avenge the murder of Wyatt’s brother Morgan. The journalists of his day embellished slim fact with fat rumor and rank fiction; it was they who invented the iconic frontier gambler and gunman Doc Holliday. (Thin. Mustachioed. A cold and casual killer. Doomed, and always dressed in black, as though for his own funeral.) That unwanted notoriety added misery to John Henry’s final months, when illness and exile had made him a lonely and destitute alcoholic, dying by awful inches and living off charity in a Colorado hotel.

The wonder is how long and how well he fought that destiny.

Smile Pinki Update!

Varanasi, India – Pinki Sonkar, star of the Academy Award® winning film Smile Pinki, traveled with her father for days to receive free cleft lip surgery. After five years of suffering and ostracization, Pinki was given a new life by Dr. Subodh Singh thanks to Smile Train donors. Pinki traveld to Hollywood alongside, her father, Dr. Subodh , and the film’s director Megan Mylan to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. While many girls and boys dream of winning famous movie awards, Pinki only dreamed of going to school and living a normal life. Who says dreams can’t come true?

Smile Pinki Update

Pinki’s life has changed dramatically since her surgery: she’s enrolled in school, making friends, and even learning English. Please take a few minutes and watch this clip to see the power a simple surgery can have on an entire family.

Ghutaru Post Cleft Palate SurgeryWe also recently received a surprise visit from the other star of the film, Ghutaru Chauhan. Ghutaru returned to G.S. Memorial Hospital where he recieved his free cleft palate surgery years ago in order to meet with one of the new speech pathologists. Ghutaru is taking his studies on wholeheartedly and even has a tutor to make sure he is caught up with other kids his age. Ghutaru’s cleft palate caused great difficulty with his speech and, like many children who have their cleft palates repaired, he has had to retrain himself to speak properly. He met again with Dr. Subodh and his team as part of a Smile Train pilot initiative for speech pathology, which we hope to be able to bring to all of our partner hospitals. With the help of the speech pathologists, his tutor will be incorporating speech lessons into Ghutaru’s daily activities so that he will beGhutaru Post Cleft Palate Surgery With His Mom speaking crisply and sharply with ease, like a normal child. When he was asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, Ghutaru didn’t hesitate – he looked right at Dr. Subodh and said, “a doctor.”

For those that haven’t seen the film, request your free copy of Smile Pinki today!

Every day, with the help of our donors, Smile Train creates news smiles and success stories for more than 300 children just like Pinki and Ghutaru.

Happy Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we here at Smile Train would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers that make Smile Train possible. The mother’s of our patients, our donors, and our partner doctors, nurses, and staff.  We care for children with cleft who represent the poorest of the poor and empower poor, but very proud local doctors to help their own communities every single day, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Smile Train patient Jiro with his mom after free cleft surgeryFew things are as heart-wrenching as looking into the eyes of a mother who has lost all hope for her child: believing that her son or daughter is doomed to a life of suffering due to the social stigma of being born with a cleft. However, nothing is more uplifting then seeing a mother as she looks upon her baby smile for the first time. This is true in the maternity ward and at our 1,100 partner hospital patient wards where Smile Train surgeries allow mothers to see their children smile for the first time in their lives after months and years of despair.

Mother’s Day is a time to reflect upon all the ways our mothers have impacted our lives and appreciate their devotion and love. While most of our patients have no idea about this Western holiday, they share some of the most profound examples of the bond between parent and child. Our partner hospitals consistently tell us stories of  mothers and fathers traveling hundreds of miles over days to reach them. Leaving the security and comfort of their villages with a faint hope that strangers they have never met can give their children new lives.

This Mother’s Day, you can give a smile to a pateint, his or her mother, and yours. In honor of all that your mother has done for you, please give hope to a mother of a child born with cleft. You can give her child a new smile and the whole family a new life.

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This weekend, give your mother something that will touch her heart and make her smile while it changes a child’s life forever.

With a couple clicks of your mouse you can make a donation in her honor and send an e-card with a unique message from you inside. And we promise you that when she opens your Smile Train e-card, and sees what you have done, she is going to smile.