100 Miles for 100 Smiles

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Ultramarathon runner David Coligado recently completed a 24-hour, 100 mile treadmill run in an effort to raise enough funds for 100 Smile Train cleft surgeries. David’s girlfriend Mary recounts his motivations and experience in completing this incredible feat.


I cannot convey in words how inspiring and memorable this weekend has been. Thank you from the deepest depths of my heart for all of your efforts to support Dave since the conception of this crazy idea. You are tops in my book.

I wanted to share but a few highlights from the weekend that will stay with me always:

Chicago police officers driving by the Lululemon store raising their hands in support of Dave.

Midnight: lights off. A glow in the dark sticks/dance workout that illuminated the room. Dave on the treadmill. DJ spinning tunes.

3 AM: twerk-off/dance off 🙂

4 AM: a group of about 80 people singing Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” and George Michael’s “Freedom” in unison with Dave while he ran.

A maxillofacial surgeon and a craniofacial surgeon, both in town for a conference, saw the story on the news. They walked in to Lululemon, each donating $500 in cash in support of Smile Train.

People holding up the pictures Smile Train provided of the kids and adults in the window every hour and during Dave’s few moments of struggle. They were also posted all around him throughout the run and brought more than a few people to tears.

The security guard, a total machismo, south side old school Chicago kinda guy, singing along with us and crying when Dave hit his 100 miles.

Between the hours of 1 AM-4 AM: drunk people on the street walking by confused and slack jawed upon hearing the DJ blasting music, Dave running on the treadmill, and all of us dancing, working out, and singing, with the store doors wide open welcoming all to join us. Several of them digging in their pockets to contribute whatever crumpled up dollar bills they had left.

8:30 AM: as we were cleaning and the treadmills were being hauled away, a man, who saw the story on the news, walked in and handed Dave $250 in cash for Smile Train. He offered his congratulations, and walked out.

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…Certainly one of the most memorable 24 hours of our lives. Thank you to ALL of the folks at Smile Train for their efforts to make this idea a reality.

It’s easy to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the fundraising event, but the children who will ultimately benefit from the money raised have been at the forefront of our minds throughout.

Still delirious from this weekend’s event, Dave and I hobbled to the kitchen this morning, seeking coffee. We stopped to take a detailed look at the piles of photos that lay on our counter. Moving images of children and adults from clinics around the world holding up signs of thanks and support for Dave. We talked about what a collaboration it must have been to collect such an inspirational tribute. We were balling. Consider us lifelong Smile Train supporters and advocates.

With love and gratitude,
Mary Oleszek


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Smile Train Team EMPOWER gives athletes around the world the opportunity to make every step, every lap and every mile count toward giving a child not only a new smile, but a second chance at life.

World Kindness Day Story

Lisbeth before surgery, 6 months old

Lisbeth before surgery, 6 months old

Two years ago, Lynn Macaulay was volunteering in El Salvador when she met a young couple whose daughter, Lisbeth, was born with a cleft lip and palate. Lisbeth’s parents couldn’t afford cleft surgery, or any of the other related medical expenses. Lynn decided to take action and find a way to get young Lisbeth the surgery she needed.

After raising money in her community, Lynn reached out to the local government and nonprofits who suggested that she contact Smile Train. Smile Train’s Regional Manager of the Americas, Pam Sheeran, explained that Smile Train works with local cleft teams around the world and provides them with grants so that families like Lisbeth’s don’t have to pay for such care.

Lynn was thrilled to hear that baby Lisbeth would be able to receive the surgery, and she insisted that she donate the amount needed to cover the costs of Lisbeth’s surgery, and help others in the area. Thanks to Lynn’s generosity, and desire to help, Lisbeth is now a happy and healthy two-year-old. She has had both her surgeries and now is able to properly eat solid food, and of course, smile.

Lisbeth after surgery, 2 years old

Lisbeth after surgery, 2 years old