Operation Smile Premieres Interactive Film “change foreverTM” featuring Tony Hawk to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Saving Lives

Film Allows Viewers to Send their Smile on the Journey of a Medical Mission, and Take a Pledge to Advocate for Children Born with Clefts 

Norfolk, Va. – In honor of Operation Smile’s 30th anniversary celebration, share your smile with world-renowned athlete Tony Hawk. On January 10th, Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity, is premiering “change foreverTM” – a short interactive film starring Tony Hawk which can be viewed at www.wecanchangeforever.com. In the film, viewers can upload their smile through Facebook and watch as their smile travels around the world to help a child suffering from a facial deformity such as cleft lip and cleft palate. The online and social media campaign encourages individuals to join the movement by sharing their smile and the film on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. They also are asked to take a pledge to help create greater awareness for children suffering from facial deformities. The pledge advocates that every child has the right to smile.

The video is launching during National Birth Defect Awareness month. Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will not live beyond their first birthday. To increase awareness about this issue, Operation Smile launched its 30th Anniversary celebration with the change forever™ campaign, featuring a year-long series of events in the United States and globally. Operation Smile has set an ambitious goal to raise significant funds worldwide through the campaign to eradicate the backlog of children suffering from facial deformities, and increase global access to safe surgical care.

The change forever™ campaign is designed to make a lasting impact. Children with clefts are often unable to speak or eat properly and are shunned from their communities. The global campaign is planned to include the additional following elements:

  • The anniversary kicked off in the Philippines. In a span of 30 days in 9 different cities, Operation Smile provided more than 8,000 free healthcare evaluations and performed surgeries for 1,219 Filipino children and young adults. More than 1,000 medical volunteers from 38 countries donated their talents for these anniversary missions in the Philippines, where Operation Smile hosted its first-ever medical mission in 1982.
  • As part of a grant awarded to Operation Smile by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Operation Smile will launch a large-scale awareness campaign about craniofacial malformations to increase information for families in the U.S. who are affected by orofacial clefts, health care providers and school professionals. The campaign is being designed to improve access to healthcare services for children with clefts.
  • Transformational stories by the people who have been touched by Operation Smile over 30 years will be shared, including the organization’s celebrity Smile Ambassadors such as Roma Downey, Jessica Simpson, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Zachary Levi, Giuliana Rancic, Donald Trump, Jr., Billy Bush and so many others;
  • Multimedia events will be hosted in Boston, Dallas, Palm Beach, Park City, Washington, D.C., New York City, Toronto and Los Angeles.
  • In-country field reports from well-known mommy bloggers who are volunteering on surgical missions to share their experiences with their audiences;
  • A thought-leadership gathering in Washington, D.C. where an Operation Smile report on the state of surgical delivery in the global health landscape will be released;
  • Youth initiatives including the 22nd annual International Student Leadership Conference in Virginia, where over 600 students from more than 20 countries will develop their philanthropic leadership skills.

With the help of medical volunteers from over 80 countries and generous supporters, Operation Smile has provided more than 3.5 million healthcare evaluations, and over 200,000 free reconstructive surgeries worldwide. With as little as $240 dollars, a surgery that can take as few as 45 minutes can transform the life of a child forever.

For more information on Operation Smile’s global efforts, visit www.operationsmile.org, follow @operationsmile on Twitter, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/operationsmile.

Source: Operation Smile

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