Everyone Deserves a Smile

In honor of world smile day last Friday, we shared the story of a young man named Enok on our Facebook page. For 25 years, Enok lived in pain and isolation. He was tormented and mocked because of his severe cleft lip. With the help of Operation Smile™, it’s partners, and volunteers, Enok received the gift of a smile.

This is his story.

We share Enok’s smile with you today to bring awareness to the critical situation faced by billions worldwide who continue to suffer from a cleft lip or palate due to a lack of access to safe surgical care. Every three minutes another child is born with this condition, resulting in malnourishment, speech impediments, and social stigma.

The majority of people who lack access to safe surgical care are often the poorest in their countries, excluded from care due to economic and social barriers and residing in remote locations far from surgical sites. The truth is, more people die each year from the lack of access to safe surgery than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Through Operation Smile™, safe surgeries are provided to patients with the highest quality of care, based on the highest medical standards, no matter where they live.

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Did you know that it only takes $240 USD to perform a single life-changing surgery? (Most of us reading this spend a lot more than that on a regular basis to support our papercrafting hobby!)

Since 2008, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™, repairing smiles and reshaping lives, one person at a time. Because we support the mission of this amazing organization, with each new catalog, we design a special stamp set and donate $7 USD of the proceeds from its sales to the efforts of Operation Smile™. By purchasing the My Acrylix® Beautiful Soul stamp set, you can help give a child the gift of a smile.

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Additionally, any time you place an order with Close To My Heart you have the option of rounding your order up to the nearest dollar, giving the extra as a donation to Operation Smile™. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference!

There is an overwhelming need for these surgeries. Families will travel together hundreds of miles to an Operation Smile™ mission site, in some cases by foot, and in other cases to multiple sites, to give their child the opportunity to have a surgery. Unfortunately, not everyone who comes to the mission site will get surgery. Surgeries can only be provided to those out of the hundreds of people present who need it most. Most of these people will require multiple surgeries, which means returning the next time Operation Smile™ can fund a mission in their area. Even with medical team volunteers from around the world who donate their time and skills, supplies to perform these surgeries are limited.

With your help, we can remove these financial, geographic, and cultural barriers that are impeding access to safe and well-timed surgeries. Purchase the My Acrylix® Beautiful Soul stamp set, round up your next order for crafting supplies, encourage others to do the same, or simply get on our site and make a donation directly to Operation Smile™.

Everyone Deserves a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #beautifulsoul #stamp #stampset #charity #nonprofit #cleftlip #cleftpalete #surgerymission

Together we can continue blessing the lives of these children who need it so much!

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Operation Smile™ for the Win!

For the last ten years, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™ in an effort to bring children around the world healthy smiles. Operation Smile™ is an international medical charity that provides free surgeries to children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care.

 

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexctmh #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #ctmhoperationsmile

 

Last October, we kicked off the Share a Smile Challenge that promised to reward three Close To My Heart Consultants a spot as a volunteer on an Operation Smile™ medical mission. Unless you are a medical doctor, these non-medical volunteer positions are hard to come by and highly sought after. It is an opportunity of a lifetime, to witness first hand how our contributions and efforts can change the lives of children and the families they come from. The winners of our contest were announced at our North American Convention just this last week. So who are they?

In order to win, two of these amazing people had to submit the highest total in donations between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. The third winner was drawn at random on stage among all Consultants who submitted donations of at least $1,000 in the same time period.

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In first place, with over $14,000 raised and donated to this wonderful cause, is our friend Avis Latimer, from Glenn Dale Maryland! Taking second in our Share a Smile Challenge, with donations adding up to $10,000, is Holly Veselenak from Macomb Michigan. And, our third winner, drawn at random from a set of 25 names (which means that’s at least another $25,000 raised for Operation Smile™!) is Brenda Rose from East Bethel, Minnesota.

Congratulations to these incredible women! And sincere heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in this challenge and does their part to contribute to this never-ending need.

But there is more!

Every year, as many of you know, we also raise funds for Operation Smile™ during our Convention by accepting donations and auctioning off artwork (albums, layouts, home décor, etc.) created and donated by a handful of our most talented Consultants. This year, one of these Consultants had the idea to not only auction off the completed album, but also to provide instructions for recreating the album to anyone who made a $50 donation to Operation Smile. By the end of the day, this initiative of hers had raised an incredible $19,200!! We got on the phone with Operation Smile™ right away and told them of this amazing feat. They responded by opening up another spot for her to attend a mission as a non-medical volunteer!

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There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when none other than Jennifer Smith, hailing from Alberta, Canada was brought to the stage and announced as the FOURTH medical mission participant winner! (You go girl!)

 

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexctmh #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #ctmhoperationsmile

 

We so appreciate everyone’s support of Operation Smile™, and want to continue to give you new reasons to talk to your customers about this donation opportunity. Starting with our new catalog coming August 1, we will be updating our Operation Smile™ stamp set with each idea book (instead of once a year), giving you three new stamp sets per year that will benefit their organization. Additionally, make sure to keep an eye out for a new Operation Smile™ t-shirt that will be available in the coming weeks—just another fun way to support Operation Smile™ so that this important work can continue.

Until then, let’s keep blessing the lives of these children who need it so much! It only takes $240 to perform a single life-saving reconstructive cleft surgery. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference.

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My Acrylix® Punny Pals Stamp Set

You don’t have to be a surgeon or a nurse to help these children; you don’t have to fly around the world or even leave your house! Operation Smile™ takes care of those parts—all they need from us, from you and me, are donations to make it possible. Close To My Heart is committed to helping Operation Smile™ receive these donations. With each donation from you, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing this year’s special stamp set, My Acrylix® Punny Pals, you are helping them, too. To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile™, talk to your Consultant today or find a Consultant in your area by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking Find a Consultant under the What We Do tab.

Thank you for helping us make a difference!

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