If you follow me on social media, you would have experienced my Operation Smile #run4smiles journey with me via Instagram and Facebook. If not, read my story below.
One morning many months ago, I woke up with the idea to start a fundraising project for Operation Smile South Africa. It has been an organisation that I have always admired and I think the work they do is incredible. Selfless surgeons, dentists, nurses, and many volunteers transform the lives of so many children and their families each year and there is still so much more work to do.
Two Oceans Marathon takes place every year in Cape Town over the Easter weekend and there is always such a strong sense of community. Regardless of whether you are running, cheering on your friends and family, manning a water station or enjoying the festivities at the Forries after party – there is always such a positive, contagious energy.
So I decided to encourage the Two Oceans community to dedicate their participation in aid of Operation Smile. I shared my own #run4smiles training story on social media and encouraged friends to get involved by running, supporting, making donations or to come up with their own way to raise funds. The response was overwhelming.
A good friend of mine, Natasha Ruschienski, who is a South African working and living in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, arranged a sister running event on 6 March and many generous donations flew in.
Another friend, Kim Grant, arranged a training run one Sunday from Hout Bay to Chapman’s Peak to raise funds.
Lastly, another great friend, Alex Jongens, created a coffee club where five people put the money they would spend on buying a takeaway coffee each day towards the #run4smiles fundraising campaign.
I tapped in to all my networks and was overwhelmed by the positive response. I exceeded my initial target of R20 000 which would cover four safe Operation Smile cleft lip/palate surgeries. Many generous people donated via Give ‘n Gain and in under two months we raised R80 200 which will cover the cost of 16 operations.
We all take it for granted when people say, “You have such a beautiful smile; so in my small way I’m so grateful that I have been able to help 16 children and their families by covering Operation Smile’s medical expenses to create 16 new, healthy smiles that will improve their quality of lives for good.
I’m also holding thumbs that I will be able to go on an Operation Smile mission to Madagascar later this year as a non-medical volunteer so that I can really get hands-on instead of simply offering financial support from afar. In a world where there is so much negativity, violence, prejudice, sadness, turmoil and suffering; I hope that my ongoing fundraising projects will add some sunshine and smiles to a few people’s lives.
Lastly, I also wrote two Follow The Sun blog posts during my #run4smiles campaign. If you haven’t yet, read them here: