Local Toddler Gets Serious in Solidarity With Cleft-Affected Kids Around the World
NEW YORK, May 29, 2015 — A nine-month-old baby, Walter, has launched a “smile strike,” refusing to smile under even the most amusing circumstances in an effort to raise awareness for children living with unrepaired clefts. Walter is asking the public to support his strike with a donation to Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft charity, which helps empower and train doctors in the developing world to perform free cleft repair surgeries for children in their own communities. “Why should I go on smiling like it’s going out of style while other babies out there are having a hard time smiling and laughing because of their unrepaired clefts?” Walter asked in his video announcement of the strike, available here.
Cleft lip and palate are serious health conditions that affect millions of children worldwide. Without surgical repair, those living with clefts can have trouble breathing, eating and speaking. Children with unrepaired clefts in the developing world are often isolated, shunned and prohibited from attending school and participating in their communities. Only hours into the strike, exhaustive efforts to make Walter smile have proven futile. “We’ve jiggled keys in his face, played peekaboo, made funny faces, but he’s not breaking,” said Walter’s mother. “He’s serious about smiles.”
To support Walter’s strike, visit SeriousBaby.org to make a donation today, and share this story using the hashtag #SeriousBaby.