Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity and Official Partner of Charity Today has announced that UK national treasure Elizabeth Hurley, known for her work as an actress, model, businesswoman, and philanthropist, has become a Smile Train Global Ambassador and will lend her support to raise the profile of Smile Train in the UK and further afield.
Through her role as ambassador, Elizabeth will use her global platform to raise awareness of clefts in the UK whilst using her voice to shine the spotlight on Smile Train’s programmes and initiatives around the world. Elizabeth is planning to visit Smile Train programmes in India in 2023 to meet with the local partner surgeons, cleft patients and their families who’ve benefited from Smile Train’s support.
Elizabeth Hurley commented:
“It’s an honour and a privilege to become the Global Ambassador for Smile Train and help change the world one smile at a time. Every three minutes, somewhere in the world another baby is born struggling to breathe, speak or eat due to a cleft. Smile Train has achieved so much in 23 years, helping more than 1.5 million cleft-affected children.
“In the UK, the NHS supports babies with clefts for free but hundreds of thousands of children and adults worldwide do not have access to the lifesaving surgery and other comprehensive cleft care they so desperately need. Smile Train works to fill that gap. I am very much looking forward to meeting the children and families whose lives have been transformed by Smile Train, hearing their stories, and speaking out on their behalf.”
Ian Vallance, Director, Smile Train UK, said:
“We are thrilled to have Elizabeth join our Smile Train family. Through her charity work, Elizabeth has shown that a powerful voice and powerful actions can make a difference. Every three minutes another baby is born struggling to breathe, speak, and eat due to a cleft. By graciously sharing her spotlight with children with clefts, Elizabeth will not only help us raise awareness for such an important issue, but will also move the world with our patients’ powerful stories, helping raise even more vital funds to support our work.”
A cleft is the most common facial difference globally, affecting around 1 in 700 babies. In the UK, cleft surgery is carried out within the first 12 months of a baby’s life by the National Health Service (NHS). However, hundreds of thousands of children living in resource-poor communities worldwide are not as fortunate and do not have access to the lifesaving cleft treatment they desperately need.
Smile Train’s sustainable model empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. Since 1999, Smile Train has supported safe and quality cleft care for 1.5+ million children and will continue to do so until every person in need with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.
To learn more about Smile Train’s global efforts and to make a donation, please visit: smiletrain.org.uk.