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‘Operation Smile’ Raises Money for Disadvantaged Children’s Surgeries

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Members of Operation Smile are celebrating their success as they forge ahead to increase membership and raise money to provide children with  surgeries  they need to live healthy lives.

 “We are currently selling homemade chapstick and body scrubs and are planning on selling t-shirts a little later in the semester,” said Hope Spangler, junior speech language pathology major.

Operation Smile  began in 1982, and it has provided free surgeries to children in 60 different countries.  

Started at the university by William Magee and his wife, Kathleen, an alumna, the organization’s goal is to provide many options to people living in third world countries who suffer from cleft lip or cleft palate.

“You don’t fully understand the effect a cleft palate has on someone,” said Lisa Stumpp, speech language pathology member.

“There is quite literally a hole in the roof of your mouth.  And most people in third world countries wouldn’t have the opportunity to receive this surgery if it wasn’t for organizations like Operation Smile.”

Last year, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, an organization that connects students and professionals nationally and internationally, teamed up with Operation Smile.

 “Last year, the other NSSLHA officers and I decided to make Operation Smile our foundation for which we would fundraise and raise awareness,” said Lisa Stumpp, junior speech language pathology major.

In the short time the club has been up and running, Operation Smile members have raised enough funds to cover more than a dozen surgeries, which surpassed its goal, said Stumpp.

“We fundraised throughout the year, including ‘Just Sip and Smile’ coffee grams and a t-shirt sale with all profits going towards Operation Smile, and ended our efforts with the ‘Put A Smile On Your Face’ benefit concert in April.  Overall, we were able to raise $3600 which paid for 15 life-changing surgeries,” Stumpp said.

Spangler said she was “overwhelmed” with the support for last’s year’s concert.

“I can’t even begin to describe to you the emotions that I felt when I was standing on stage and we announced that we’d raised enough money to cover 15 surgeries. Obviously we received a lot of help and support with the concert, but the four NSSLHA officers got it done. It’s so crazy to think that the four of us made such a huge impact. Fifteen surgeries!”

“This is a very beneficial program,” said junior Riley Mckee, speech language pathology major.

Stump added that helping to improve someone’s life is “a pretty awesome feeling.”

Spangler said the sense of accomplishment that membership brings is significant.

“Sometimes I still can’t believe it. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished when a community of people really come together united under one cause, and I think that the show last year really proved just that,” Spangler said.

 Club membership is open to students of all majors,  Spangler said, and membership looks great on resumes and future job applications.

“You’re helping children. I feel like it’s as simple as that. This amazing, wonderful program could not go on without both physical and monetary support,” Spangler said..


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‘Operation Smile’ Raises Money for Disadvantaged Children’s Surgeries