Vets with Horsepower, an inspirational group of fundraisers!

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After a 4,000 mile motorbike journey through Russia, Finland, Denmark, and Germany the Vets with Horsepower group is proud to say,” we have raised a total of 300+ new smiles for Smile Train. The Horsepower team is proud to help Smile Train in its work and we are immensely grateful to the sponsors, supporters and Smile Train itself for their kindness and encouragement. It was worth every blister and every mile.”

Team rider Derek Knottenbelt says of this year’s trip, “The dust has settled after our amazing motorbike trip to St Petersburg in the summer. Sure it was tough from time to time, but this was NOTHING compared to the life-time of hardship suffered by people with unrepaired clefts. Our satisfaction on safe completion of our trip is matched by our satisfaction that in raising just under £50,000 we have made a significant life-change to 300+ people.”

Smile Trains UK’s Amerjit Chohan, Director, Fundraising, comments: “The sheer commitment and dedication from everyone has been utterly amazing. We’re so proud that Derek and the Vets with Horsepower team chose to support Smile Train. The money they raised will help provide new smiles for more than 300 children. Their efforts will have a lasting legacy for these children. Thank you Vets with Horsepower for all your support.”

A Long Awaited Smile

Blog post 7.10.2014

Multan, Pakistan—Imagine providing for a family of three living on under seven dollars a day. Unfortunately, this is reality for young Muhammad Zaeem and his family. Muhammad is an only child living with his mother and father in a ‘kachi abadi’ in Pakistan. A ‘kachi abadi’ is an urban settlement in which impoverished people come together to create a makeshift community in order to support each other. Many of the people in these communities cannot read and do not have an adequate supply of resources.

Where Muhammad lives, superstition prevails over science. It is believed that children with a cleft lip are the result of carelessness on the mother’s behalf who, during pregnancy, cut something with a sharp edged knife during an eclipse. While a solution to Muhammad’s cleft was uncertain, his father became hopeful when he saw a Smile Train advertisement on the Bakhtawar Amin Hospital’s billboard.

Muhammad’s parents brought him to see Dr. Amir Hanif at the Bakhtawar Amin Hospital in September 2013. On his first visit Muhammad’s weight and hemoglobin levels were too low to undergo surgery. Dr. Hanif decided to wait four months so Muhammad could become stronger and properly nourished. Muhammad and his parents returned to the hospital in February 2014 and left three days later with Muhammad’s new smile.

The team from the Bakhtawar Amin Hospital visited Muhammad and his family two months later to find great news. Muhammad was living a normal, happy life and was accepted within his community. The family was cheerful and looking forward to the future.

Thankyou Smile Train

This Little Boy’s Smile Will Steal Your Heart

Muhammad before and after

Peshawar, Pakistan—When Muhammad Abdullah was born a little over a year ago his parents’ joy over the birth of their first child was quickly replaced by fear and worry. The newborn baby had arrived with a cleft lip and palate.

“When I was in my first pregnancy I had so many beautiful thoughts about my baby, but when I saw my little baby after birth I was really shocked because this was the first case of cleft in the family,” said Abdullah’s mother. “The second difficult thing that I faced were people’s expressions and their questions about Abdullah, like what happened to him and how it happened.”

In the region of Pakistan surrounding Peshawar, where Abdullah was born, exists many myths about children born with clefts. Many believe that if a pregnant woman works during a moon or sun eclipse that her unborn child will develop a cleft, especially if she is using a knife at the time of the eclipse. As Abdullah was the only one in his family with cleft there was little awareness about the condition to know otherwise.

As with many cleft lip and palate patients Abdullah had some initial difficulty feeding. When the family approached a doctor to help with their child’s malnourishment they were told that their son’s cleft could be repaired and were connected to a plastic surgeon. With the first hurdle of their son’s feeding cleared the new parents were ready to get the surgery required to close the gap in Abdullah’s lip and mouth. As quickly as they overcome one difficulty, they were met with another—the cost of the surgery.The young parents were stuck. Should they get the treatment their son needs, but incure an unpayable debt that would put the family in a financial crisis?

The surgeon shared the name of organization who might be able to help—Smile Train. The couple took to Facebook and were able to connect to the organization, and ultimately to the Smile Train partner hospital who would repair their son’s cleft at no cost to them.

While very nervous on the date of their son’s surgery, the couple was relieved after its completion that they and their son would no longer be the center of attention due to his birth defect. “The smiling face of my son sweeps all my worries away,” said Abdullah’s mother.

“Thanks to Smile Train and the doctors who made my son smile,” she added. “And his parents too. Now we are all happy.”

Never Not Funny Pardcast-a-Thon 2011 for Smile Train hopes to raise over $27,000!!

Los Angeles, California — On Friday, Nov. 25 at 6p.m. PST, the 3rd Annual Never Not Funny Pardcast-a-Thon kicks off for 12 hours of comedy and helping kids a world away. Hosted by Jimmy Pardo, Matt Belknap and Pat Francis, the award winning podcast is gearing up for their biggest event yet at ACME Theatre in Los Angeles.

Pardcast-a-Thon 2011 banner

An annual comedy tour-de-force, this year’s Pardcast-a-Thon featurs a round-robin of over twenty all-star comedy guests including Andy Richter, Sarah Silverman, Greg Behrendt, Walter Koenig from “Star Trek” and other surprise guests. Host Jimmy Pardo was recently on Conan to promote the event as well.

We caught up with Jimmy to catch up on all things Pardcast before the big show.

Never Not Funny's Jimmy Pardo proudly supports Smile Train

How did the Pardcast-a-thon come about?
Honestly, we just decided one day that we wanted to do a crazy long version of our show to raise money for Smile Train. We had done a contest earlier where listeners could bid to be a guest on the show and that money also went to Smile Train. We basically said “Let’s do a juiced up version of both those things,” and the Pardcast-a-Thon was born.

What made you choose “Black Friday” for the event?
It made the most sense. People are in the giving spirit around the holidays and that 4 day weekend also allows for people to fly in for the event.

Why did you and your team choose Smile Train?
It was a perfect storm of events…on a Sunday, I saw an ad for Smile Train and donated that day. The next day, Pardcast-a-Thon co-host Pat Francis came up with the idea to do the aforementioned listener contest with money going to ST… the timing seemed too perfect, so I have made it my charity of choice.

What is the most memorable event that has happened during the last 2 Pardcast-a-thons?
People always seem to bring up Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” coming in for his segment and then not leaving. He just kept coming back in and each time was funnier than the next. Of course, getting the hourly updates of the donations coming in is actually the biggest highlight.

The Pardcast-a-thon started as a six hour event and then doubled to 12. What was the biggest challenge in making that switch?
It was actually a 9 hour event that jumped to 12 hours. The biggest challenge was/is finding more comics, actors or musicians who are in town on a holiday weekend.

The lines between standup and podcasts are blurring and there are many comedians vying for the title of longest standup performance and even longest podcast. Do you and your team at Never Not Funny have any goals for those titles?
We actually don’t. Our goal is to raise money for Smile Train and have fun along the way. As much as I love the sound of my own voice, even I think 12 hours is enough!

For those that aren’t in attendance, will there be a video broadcast to see all of the action or is it audio?
Of course, we stream live at www.pardcast.com. We received donations from all over the world last year. It’s great to be able to reach that many people at once and for such a great cause.

Without giving away your surprise guest list, is there anything listeners should expect this year?
Lots of talk about how tired we are at 4am.

What are your goals for this year’s Pardcast-a-thon?
We raised over $26,000 during last years event. According to telethon bylaws, we have to try and raise more than that. We are shooting for a realistic $27,000.

If you could meet any of the patients that you have helped, what would you say to them? How about children that are still waiting for surgery?
My guess is I would be so overcome with joy that I wouldn’t know what to say to a child that had it done. I think I would stress that no matter how they will appear with their new look, they were always beautiful and to never forget that!

A special thanks to Jimmy Pardo, Matt Belknap, Pat Francis, the Never Not Funny team, all of the celebrity guests, fans, and listeners of this year’s upcoming Pardcast-a-Thon!