Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, is delighted to announce that international celebrity 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 around the world, with a particular focus on her home country, the UK.
Through her role as ambassador, Elizabeth will use her global platform to raise awareness of clefts while using her voice to shine the spotlight on Smile Train’s programs and initiatives around the world. Elizabeth is planning to visit Smile Train programs in India in 2023 to meet with the organization’s local partner surgeons, cleft patients and their families who’ve benefited from Smile Train’s support.
Elizabeth Hurley commented: "It’s an honor 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. 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.”
Susannah Schaefer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smile Train, said: “We are thrilled to have Elizabeth bring her strong voice and support to our Smile Train family. Through her charity work, Elizabeth has shown that providing a voice to the most vulnerable is critical to touching more lives across the world. Every three minutes, another baby is born struggling to eat, breathe, hear, and speak due to a cleft. By spreading awareness about clefts and shining a spotlight on the powerful and inspiring stories of our cleft-affected community, Elizabeth will help every child with a cleft smile their brightest.”
A cleft is the most common facial difference globally, affecting around 1 in 700 babies. It is recommended that cleft surgery is carried out within the first 12 months of a baby’s life (ACPA). However, hundreds of thousands of children living in resource-poor communities worldwide 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.