Wake Forest, NC — Special Guest Blog written by Smile Train Donor Engagement Associate Anna Lawrence. Be sure to check out the Smile Train Tri local news coverage.
This past weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Smile Train Triathlon. Ever since she received one of our pieces of mail five years ago, Rebecca Warriner has worked tirelessly to fundraise for Smile Train. This year, the 5th Annual Smile Train Triathlon brought over 450 triathletes together to race for our cause and raised more than $36,000!
What Rebecca has been able to accomplish over the past five years is truly inspiring. Not only has her annual triathlon now raised over $150,000 for Smile Train programs, but she has found a way to engage her entire community to provide desperate kids free cleft surgery. It was a truly moving experience to witness so many people coming together, not only to support each other in a grueling race, but to all be so enthusiastic and dedicated to helping bring smiles to children they will never meet and hope to families worlds away from their own homes.
Every year, Rebecca has a family who has been affected by a cleft come to represent how having a child with a cleft has affected their lives and how important it is for them to have access to the medical care so many children around the world are unable to receive. This year, Jaime Cleary, along with her family, drove all the way down to North Carolina from Ohio to be that representative. Jaime’s son, Aydan, was born with a cleft and was fortunate enough to receive the surgeries he needed to live a normal and healthy life. Jaime, who is an all-girls high school rugby coach, even organized a fundraiser of her own by hosting a charity rugby game where all the girls played rugby in prom dresses. Jaime participated in the race and placed in her age group!
Rebecca, who is now 5 months pregnant, even participated in the swim part of the triathlon in between managing the booths, coordinating her volunteers, and keeping the event running as smoothly as possible.
From everyone at Smile Train, we want to send a huge thank you to all the participants in this year’s Triathlon, the Cleary family who drove the long way down to be a part of this event and most importantly, to Rebecca and her family, Richard, Polly, John, Pat and Craig for their extreme generosity, dedication and unrelenting efforts to bring so many smiles to children around the world.