NEW YORK, Nov. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Smile Train, the international charity dedicated to providing surgery and care to children around the globe with a cleft lip or palate, announced the launch of its Season Of Smiles campaign, offering unique opportunities for giving that will grant every child born with a cleft – anywhere in the world – the opportunity to live a full, happy, and productive life. Smile Train has already performed more than 800,000 free cleft surgeries for children in need. The Season of Smiles campaign will help them get closer to reaching their goal of providing 1,000,000 smiles since their inception in 1999.
"In 2012, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to surpass 800,000 free cleft surgeries, a significant milestone for our organization," said Priscilla Ma, Smile Train Executive Director. "But the need for more work remains. This time of year is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our gratitude for the tens of thousands of donors and partners who have lent their support, but it also is a reminder of the importance of helping those in need. This holiday season we call upon our supporters once again to help us get closer to reaching our goal of giving the gift of a smile to 1,000,000 poor children who have nowhere else to turn."
"I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing charity whose donations truly benefit the children who need them," said actress and avid Smile Train supporter, Rebecca Herbst. "Smile Train is not just about cleft lip and palate surgery, it's about giving the gift of hope. Thank you for changing the lives of so many children."
This year, Smile Train is encouraging sponsors and donors to get involved through various fundraising and social media campaigns that will help the organization deliver much needed care. Utilizing a full suite of fundraising opportunities, from sponsored events and home fundraising parties, to an array of social media touch points on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Smile Train's innovative online presence will expand awareness during the holiday season to help reach their 1,000,000 smile goal.
The problem of clefts is an economic issue, with families in developing nations unable to afford what is an otherwise affordable surgery. By providing this care and establishing long term medical solutions within communities, Smile Train's unique model empowers local medical professionals to provide free corrective cleft surgery in a safe environment for children around the world suffering from a cleft lip and/or palate. Smile Train has provided over 800,000 free cleft surgeries since its founding in 1999. The work that Smile Train does provides a child with a second chance at life through a surgery that costs as little as $250.
About Smile Train
Smile Train's mission is to provide a child born with a cleft the same opportunities in life as a child born without a cleft. We provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries and train doctors and medical professionals in over 80 countries.
Unlike many charities that do many different things, Smile Train's mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate.
Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where more than a million children are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren't allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache. Their clefts usually go untreated because they are poor - too poor to pay for a simple surgery that has been around for decades. We want our mission to be yours.
About Rebecca Herbst
Rebecca Herbst originated the role of Elizabeth Webber on General Hospital in August 1997.
In February of 1999 Ms. Herbst won a Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Younger Lead Actress. She also received her first of three Daytime Emmy® nominations in May of 1999.
At the age of six, Ms. Herbst told her mother that she wanted to be on television so that she could play with the toys. Since then she has appeared in over sixty national commercials. She has guest-starred in many television series, including Highway to Heaven, L.A. Law, Beverly Hills 90210, Step By Step, Boy Meets World, Sister Sister, Days Of Our Lives, and Brotherly Love. She also starred with Jaclyn Smith in the television movie Kaleidoscope. Ms. Herbst played Suzee, a series regular on cable's Space Cases. She was featured with Christopher Lloyd in the feature film Why Me?, and has also starred in various educational videos.
As a competitive ice skater, Ms. Herbst had to make a choice between pursuing skating and acting at the age of 16. She still loves to ice skate and rollerblade in her free time, but is very happy with her decision to pursue acting.
Ms. Herbst is married to former General Hospital co-star Michael Saucedo. The happy couple welcomed son Ethan into the world in October 2001, daughter Ella in April 2004 and son Emerson in August 2010. They live near Los Angeles.
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SOURCE Smile Train