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Local kindergartners raise money to ‘make the world smile’
Photo: Elburn twins Delia (front) and Lucinda Connelly,
6, have raised over $2,700 for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity. Lucinda was born with a cleft lip and palate. She had surgery on her lip when she was two and a half months old. A second surgery was performed on her palate when she was nearly 1 year old. Courtesy Photo
by Dave Woehrle
ELBURN—Twin girls from Elburn, Lucinda and Delia Connelly, are proving the power of a kind and generous smile.
The girls, 6, have raised over $2,700 for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity.
Holly Orcutt, the mother of Lucinda and Delia, said the girls were “excited to change kids’ lives.”
Worldwide, about one in every 700 children are born with cleft lip or palate. In developing countries, there are over a million children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. A simple 45-minute surgery costs about $250 to remedy the problem. However, such funds are hard to come by in some countries.
Lucinda was born with a cleft lip and palate. She had surgery on her lip when she was two and a half months old. A second surgery was performed on her palate when she was nearly 1 year old.
Orcutt said her daughter became interested in helping others with cleft lips and palates after hearing about her grandmother, Nancy Reed, volunteering in an Atlanta 5k fun run called the “Hot Lips Hustle.”
Inspired by Reed, Orcutt took Lucinda and Delia’s interest in helping others and set up a fundraising page on Facebook.
“People have latched on to Smile Train,” Orcutt said. “Every child born with a cleft anywhere in the world should have the opportunity to live a full, productive life.”
Orcutt said public awareness of the congenital deformity is raising, and people are getting motivated to help.
“We’ve had a great response in the first few days, but we haven’t found a good, steady way to tap into more resources,” Orcutt said. “We’re still looking for support. When my daughters first started, they wanted to raise money for 27 surgeries. Now they want to pay for 200,000 surgeries. It’s a big goal. They’re even using money from their piggy bank.”
“It helps us make lots of friends with the children getting new smiles,” Delia said via email. “Once these children grow up, they will be able to help our Earth get better.”
You can donate at support.smiletrain.org/goto/lulu.