This year I am running the London Marathon and raising money for the Smile Train charity. This charity provides life changing surgery for children born with cleft lip/palates around the world.

Last year my son, Evan, was born with a cleft lip. As new parents to be, my wife and I finding out that our baby was going to be born with a cleft lip at our 20 week scan was very upsetting and worrying. From finding out until the birth of our son we had numerous scans, appointments to support us during this time of uncertainty. When Evan was born fortunately he was born only with a cleft lip which meant that although feeding would be difficult it would be easier than if he had had a cleft palate. As soon as he was born we felt instant love for this beautiful, brave, happy little baby. As soon as he could smile, he didn’t stop. Due to his cleft lip he had a beautiful wide smile which would bring everyone who met him so much joy. Luckily for us, living here in the UK, we were able to receive a fantastic amount of support from our local hospital and from a specialist team of surgeons, nurses, psychologists, speech therapists which Evan and ourselves will be able to access until he is 18 years old. On 26th June 2019 at 5 months old Evan had an operation to correct his lip or as the cleft team called it give him his forever smile. We can not praise the NHS highly enough for their support from the moment we found out until now, 7 months on from his operation. Each healthcare professional we have met have made a difficult situation more bearable through taking their time to answer our questions and listen to our worries.

Unfortunately, across the world sadly this is not the case. Many children around the world are living in isolation with untreated clefts causing difficulties eating, breathing, hearing and speaking. Cleft treatment alleviates many of these difficulties ultimately enabling them to thrive. The surgery is simple and the transformation is immediate. For just £150 and 45 minutes in surgery can change a child’s life forever.

Therefore this term we are raising money for Smile Train UK as part of St James chosen charity. We are raising through: a non-school uniform day, cake sales, running a mile and staff vs students dodge ball.

This cause means a great deal to me and my family so any donations would be greatly appreciated.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simon-gibbs11