You will remember that Sarabeth, on behalf of our Meetup group, held a "Paddle For A Purpose" event on July 28th (please take a look at our calendar for details). On that date, we had a 12-mile kayak trip followed by a barbecue along the river bank. And, yes, we also celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 25th birthday. But what is most important was that Sarabeth also took the lead in making our group a positive force for others, and we held a charity drive for the organization called Smile Train. I want to report on the final results of that effort, and remember, if you contributed, that the donation is 100% deductible for income tax purposes.
Smile Train concentrates on one problem: Cleft lip or palate in children who will be ostracized and not allowed to go to school or hold a job or interact with others in their countries due to their physical disfigurement. Many are ridiculed or beaten because of it.
The generous contributions from our members resulted in five full operations for five children. I repeat: We did not just help a general cause towards a future goal or a nebulous concept, we actually saved the lives of five real kids.
The first surgeon who volunteered to do the first child has returned from that successful operation, and the four others will be completed before the year is out.
These are five lives that you were instrumental in saving. Not just helping, but saving. Here is the letter I recently received:
In addition to this Smile Train charity, our Meetup group did similar endeavors in the past, and contributed to an anti-slavery movement as well as to a support group for wounded military members, and it is a great feeling to see how generous and altruistic the good people in this Meetup truly are. It makes one proud to be a part of this first-rate group of people, who are so ready to think of the plight of others.
Let us thus be thankful for what we have, and always be willing to help those less fortunate than us. Godspeed to all.