June 17, 2013
New York, NY — Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate non-profit, is proud to announce that it has been selected as the charity partner to perform the coin toss at the Gentlemen’s Singles final, Wimbledon 2013. Pinki Sonkar, one of their most well-known patients, will perform the coin toss on behalf of Smile Train at the match on Sunday, July 7th.
Pinki, who is 11 years old, will travel from her native village in India to London to share her story with the world. Her trip will connect three countries worldwide: the United Kingdom, the United States and India, as they come together to celebrate her remarkable journey. This marks the first time Smile Train has been selected as the coin toss charity partner of The Championships, Wimbledon.
In 2007, Pinki was given the opportunity through Smile Train to receive a life-changing free cleft repair surgery, which was captured in the Oscar® winning documentary short, Smile Pinki. Since the film, she has continued to grow and thrive post-surgery and live a life free of shame and isolation. Her story has become an example to others, and she has brought hope to those born with cleft.
On Sunday, July 7th, Pinki hopes to bring smiles to Centre Court by performing the coin toss to a full house at the Gentlemen’s Singles final, Wimbledon. Pinki will meet the players and be assisted in her on-court duties by Andrew Jarrett, Championships’ Referee, and the Chair Umpire. After the formalities, she will watch the match, and her day includes lunch in the Competitors’ Restaurant. During her stay in London, Pinki will partake in additional events in honor of the tournament, including meeting with many of Smile Train’s supporters.
After Smile Pinki’s fame at the Oscars® in 2008, India will celebrate this special girl once again and this great occasion. Doctor Subodh Kumar Singh, who performed Pinki’s cleft surgery in 2007, will be traveling with her to London for the exciting moment. The British High Commissioner to India, Sir James Bevan, will host a send-off dinner for Pinki on Tuesday, July 2nd at his Residence for guests to share their good wishes.
“Pinki is a young girl who exemplifies strength, courage, and dignity every day of her life, and I am so honored to accompany her as she travels to Wimbledon,” said Dr. Subodh Kumar Singh.
Smile Train will also be supporting Pinki in the United States by joining in the celebration of Wimbledon at a special event in New York City, hosted by HSBC. From June 24th - June 27th, the area adjacent to Madison Square Park will become its own mini Center Court. Fans can gather to play their own tennis match, enjoy festivities and watch the tournament as it is streamed on a viewing screen. Professional tennis players Monica Seles and Jim Courier will be present to take photos and meet spectators.
To celebrate Pinki’s visit to London, Smile Train is implementing an outdoor advertising campaign in SW19 and a social media campaign. Fans can join in the celebration and show their support by sharing our #SmileyGraph at www.smiletrain.org/pinki, Smile Train's special infographic for the campaign. Thanks to corporate sponsor InfoCision, a telemarketing services company, during The Championships, Wimbledon, any share or retweet tagged #SmileyGraph will trigger a $15.00 donation to Smile Train. Fans can also like Smile Train on Facebook and follow @SmileTrain to learn more.
Smile Train is thrilled that Pinki will be representing the charity in this phenomenal opportunity. Pinki’s story is one to share with the world, showing how one surgery sponsored by Smile Train can change the life of a child forever. The world that followed Pinki's journey to the Oscars® will have the chance to experience another milestone in her life this summer.
For more information on Smile Train please visit www.SmileTrain.org.
For more information on The Championships, Wimbledon please visitwww.wimbledon.com.
About Smile Train
Smile Train’s mission is to provide a child born with a cleft the same opportunities in life as a child born without a cleft. We provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries and train doctors and medical professionals in over 80 countries.
Unlike many charities that do many different things, Smile Train's mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate. Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where more than a million children are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly and aren't allowed to attend school or hold a job. They face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache. Their clefts usually go untreated because they are poor - too poor to pay for a simple surgery that has been around for decades. We want our mission to be yours www.smiletrain.org.