Supermodel, actress, and entrepreneur Christie Brinkley showed her commitment to helping create smiles around the world once again with her recent visit to local Smile Train partners and patients in Haiti. The trip, also attended by her daughter Sailor, was a celebration of Christie Brinkley® Authentic Skincare™’s recent donation to Smile Train, which helped provide 300 cleft surgeries to children in need.
Christie Brinkley has been a committed Smile Train Global Goodwill Ambassador for the past 10 years, and her daughter Sailor has followed suit to become a vocal supporter herself. So when Smile Train CEO Susannah Schaefer offered to show them the impact that their support has on cleft patients and Smile Train local partners in Haiti, the mother and daughter pair jumped at the opportunity.
The first stop on the Haitian journey was to Smile Train partner Hôpital Universitaire Justinien, where Christie and Sailor met 7-month-old Max. Max was born with a cleft lip in Saint-Michel-de-l'Attalaye. Max’s mother had lost hope that her son would ever be able to go to school or live a life free from discrimination. Sailor shared her experience meeting Max with her numerous Instagram followers, “Max’s mother saw a Smile Train flyer at her local hospital so she took the three-hour bus ride to Hôpital Universitaire Justinien. In that simple flyer, she saw hope and the chance to change the course of her beautiful son’s life forever.”
To everyone’s delight, Max was approved for Smile Train sponsored cleft surgery after a short screening. As Max’s mother and the cleft team were prepping him for his surgery, Christie and Sailor met with other children seeking new smiles and former patients with appointments for follow-up visits.
Next, Christie and Sailor dressed in scrubs and surgical masks and witnessed Max’s cleft surgery first-hand. Christie said of the experience, “Dr. Damas is a skilled surgeon who could practice anywhere, but he chooses to help the people of Haiti and train other local doctors. We are so honored to be amongst such heroes.” Both Christie and Sailor said the highlight of their trip was witnessing the pure joy of Max being reunited with his mother after a successful surgery.
After the emotional and awe-inspiring visit to Hôpital Universitaire Justinien, Christie and Sailor went to visit the home of former Smile Train patient Alcius to learn how his life has changed since his cleft surgery. To say that Christie was impressed with the results would be an understatement. She shared, “Alcius, aka Mr. Personality, received his cleft surgery two years ago. Smile Train’s local surgeons created a million-dollar smile, which lights up his entire village. His family warmly invited us into his home and we were welcomed by most of the neighborhood. Smile Train is a legend here thanks to everyone's generous support!”
Inspired by what she had seen, Christie concluded the trip with the following message to her supporters and Christie Brinkley® Authentic Skincare™ customers:
Your support means so much to me. I’ve seen that many children born with clefts in Haiti, as in other developing nations, lack access to medical care and they are forced to live without treatment. So to those of you who bought "Smile Kits" from my skincare line and the many others who were simply inspired to donate, I want you to know that your money is so well spent. I’ve seen that the smiles your dollars have created are priceless.
If you would like to help Christie and Sailor bring smiles to children around the world, donate today.