IRVINE, Calif., July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanuk, a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NASDAQGS: DECK), today announced its partnership with Operation Smile, an international children's medical charity that provides free reconstructive surgery for children born with cleft lips and cleft palates.
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The collaboration kicked off in May when a team of employees and surfers from Sanuk traveled to Peru to participate in one of Operation Smile's medical missions. Sanuk surfers Matt Meola, Torrey Meister and Alek Parker volunteered on the eight day mission, quickly becoming popular with the local families, doctors, and Operation Smile medical volunteers. In addition to entertaining the children and handing out stickers and free t-shirts, the Sanuk team was invited into the operating room to witness the surgeries and assist in moving patients from surgery beds to recovery rooms. Meola, Meister and Parker also took a few days off to surf with local Sanuk team rider Tamil Martino, a world renowned longboarding surfer.
"You can't get involved with an organization like Operation Smile and not be touched by what they do, and the immense joy they bring to their patients," explained Sanuk Founder Jeff Kelley. "Such a small financial investment can and does completely change a young person's life, and we're gratified to put as many smiles on the faces of children worldwide as we can." Sanuk pledged to donate $100,000 to the nonprofit in addition to the $24,000 they donated last year.
Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft condition, according to Operation Smile's statistics. One in 10 children born with a cleft will die before their first birthday. Children born with clefts are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile and are frequently shunned in their own communities. With the help of medical volunteers, Operation Smile provides free reconstructive surgery for children around the world who are suffering from facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate – healing their smiles and transforming their lives forever. One surgery can be funded for just $240, and can take as little as 45 minutes to complete.
"It is only through the dedication and incredible generosity of supporters like Sanuk that Operation Smile is able to transform the lives of so many children around the world," said Dr. Bill Magee, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Operation Smile. "When Sanuk employees and surfers volunteered in Peru, it was easy to see how touched they were by the children and families they met. They have given hope and new smiles for these children who so desperately needed their help."
For Sanuk, an organization dedicated to bringing smiles to the faces of its customers through funny billboard ads, goofy Facebook posts, and the occasionally cheeky video, the relationship with Operation Smile was an obvious fit. For people looking to get involved, Sanuk is now selling "Smile... Pass It On!" wrist bands at www.sanuk.com. Each bracelet is $4 and all proceeds go to benefit Operation Smile, to make a donation directly visit www.operationsmile.org/sanuk.
Sanuk created a trailer about the team's trip to Peru which can be viewed at "A Different Reason to Smile".
Twice recognized at the SIMA Image Awards as the 2007 and 2010 Footwear Product of the Year, Sanuk makes creatively inspired and distinctively designed footwear for the global outdoor community. Taking its name from the Thai word for fun, the brand is best known for its Sidewalk Surfers, often referred to as "Not-A-Shoes", for their patented sandal construction which allows your feet to bend and flex in natural comfort. Founded by Southern California native and surfer Jeff Kelley, Sanuk sponsors a spectrum of premier athletes, including surfers Donavon Frankenreiter and Dave Rastovich and rock climbers Chris Sharma and Daniel Woods. Sanuk products are now distributed in nearly 70 countries worldwide. Learn more at www.sanuk.com. Smile...Pass It On!
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is an international children's medical charity that works in more than 60 countries, whose network of more than 5,000 medical volunteers from over 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 2 million healthcare evaluations and conducted over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities, as well as patients suffering from burns. To build long-term self-sufficiency in developing countries, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their own local communities, donates medical equipment and supplies, and provides year-round medical treatment through Comprehensive Care Centers. For more information, please visit www.operationsmile.org.
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