Wedding season is now upon us, with brides and grooms all over the UK searching for the perfect suggestions for their gift lists and table favours for their guests.
In recent years, a trend has emerged for couples to ask for a charity donation in lieu of a traditional wedding gift. Or make a donation on their guests’ behalf instead of a more typical table favour. This trend is continuing to grow in popularity and is seen by many couples as a way to make their day extra special.
If you’re in the midst of planning your wedding and are searching for a charity to share your special day with, why not help to create ‘forever smiles’ by donating to Smile Train?
Smile Train is an international children’s charity, which provides 100% free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in over 85 developing countries.
Here, Susannah Schaefer, CEO of Smile Train, explains why couples should consider donating to Smile Train on their big day:
CHILDREN LIVING WITH UNTREATED CLEFTS MAY NOT HAVE THE CHANCE TO MARRY
Susannah Schaefer says: “Your wedding is one of the most special days of your life. It's a day filled with love, laughter, and endless smiles. Unfortunately, children with untreated clefts in the developing world may not have the chance to smile. Many of these children do not have access to cleft treatment. They are often isolated, which can prevent them from getting married when they grow up.
Making a donation to Smile Train, in place of a wedding gift or table favours will help to provide free cleft surgery and vital comprehensive cleft care that is needed to give children with clefts new smiles and the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.”
CLEFT LIP AND PALATE IS MUCH MORE THAN A COSMETIC CONCERN
Susannah Schaefer says: “It is often assumed that cleft lip and palate are purely cosmetic concerns however, this is certainly not the case. When left untreated, clefts can lead to serious health issues. Babies born with the condition, especially across much of the developing world, will often struggle with physical problems such as the ability to eat, breathe, and speak properly.
These issues can then, in turn, lead to further problems such as malnutrition and difficulty with communication. Therefore, cleft surgery and related comprehensive cleft are extremely important for a child, and wedding donations can help raise the vital funds for these needs.”
CHILDREN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES RECEIVE VERY DIFFERENT CARE TO CHILDREN IN THE UK
Susannah Schaefer says: “Babies are born with cleft lip and/or palate all across the world. This includes the UK and other countries in the western world. However, we rarely see children with untreated clefts in the UK because treatment is offered for free on the NHS, and is typically carried out very soon after the child has been born.
In the developing world, many children are not as fortunate. Families often do not have access to quality healthcare services or the resources to pay for proper cleft treatment, which is why it is more common to see children with untreated clefts in these countries – at much older ages.”
CLEFT LIP AND PALATE CAN BE TREATED WITH SURGERY
Susannah Schaefer says: “The good news is that children with cleft lip and palate in the developing world can be helped with cleft surgery that can cost as little as £150 and can take as little as 45 minutes to carry out.
Reconstructive surgery for cleft lip and palate has evolved over more than half a century, and modern techniques and procedures have come a long way. Most experts agree that cleft lips should generally be repaired 3-6 months after birth. Cleft palates typically can be repaired between 9 and 18 months of age, and most surgeries, even at later ages, are still expected to be successful. The surgeries can change a child’s life drastically.”
CLEFT CARE DOESN’T STOP AFTER SURGERY
Susannah Schaefer says: “Reconstructive surgery is a very important part of the cleft repair process, but it’s not the only one. After surgery, some patients may experience challenges with hearing, speech delay, and problems with oral health, which can complicate their recovery process.
At Smile Train, our comprehensive cleft care programs include essential treatments beyond cleft repair surgery, such as nutritional support, orthodontic care, dental care, psychological services, and speech services. This care helps to ensure long-term, successful rehabilitation for cleft patients, thereby improving their quality of life and wellbeing. The money from your wedding favours or gift contributions will help us provide care for all of those in need of treatment.”
TO START A WEDDING FUNDRAISER OR ORDER SMILE TRAIN WEDDING FAVOURS VISIT:
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