By Elena V.
ROME – On April 10, athletes ran to support the Operation Smile medical mission for Madagascar. Athletes participated in the competitive 42 Km run, and became runners in Operation Smile. The objective was, and still is, to contribute to the support of the mission; to allow volunteering doctors to provide surgical help to as many children as possible in Madagascar, which is one of the places most affected by facial malformations.
The Maratona di Roma was not only a race for athletes; in fact, more than 80,000 people participated to the Roma Fun Run La Stracittadina, the non-competitive 4k.
More than a race, it was a leisurely and enjoyable walk to which anyone could participate. There was a pleasant atmosphere as it was also considered to be a point of reunion for classmates, grandparents and grandchildren, and mostly friends coming from more than 1231 countries. As well, as every year, the emotion of being there, was the main reason for which thousands of people fled from abroad not to miss it.
Operation Smile is an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are unfortunately born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organisations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care. Operation Smile has developed expert volunteer medical teams to conduct surgical missions. Founded and based in Virginia, U.S., it has extended its global reach to more than 60 countries through its network of skilled surgeons, doctors, nurses, and most importantly, student volunteers.
As part of Operation Smile’s student program, we believe that all patients deserve comprehensive health care and a chance for a greater and better life. Each patient deserves exceptional surgical care, regardless of their nationality or financial support. We dream of a world where no child suffers from lack of access to safe surgery. We believe all children deserve to be treated as if they were our own.
That’s what drives each and every one of us: our global network of medical professionals, who donate hundreds of thousands of hours toward the care of children around the world each year, and our supporters who are moved every day to make a difference in the lives of children they’ve never met.
As long as there are children in the world who need our help, we’ll do whatever it takes to give them the quality care they deserve.
The only way Operation Smile will continue to make a lasting difference is if the culture of caring and humanity is transmitted to our youth to take that excitement and energy into our next era of smiles.
Thanks to this great FunRun, we were able to operate and consequently improve the lives of 150 children who will finally be able to be happy and as cheerful as all children should be.