Huntington, NY – Miami Dolphins’ Running Back and Smile Train Ambassador Kenyan Drake recently hosted the second annual Smile Train Family Fun Day at Caumsett State Park to raise awareness and funds for children with untreated clefts. The annual event was started by family members of Joe Bertuccio to honor his passion for creating new smiles for children in the developing world and was quickly embraced by the Huntington community — with more than 80 participants raising the funds for 26+ smiles in its first year.
Susannah Schaefer, Smile Train CEO and local resident, kicked off the run with a short speech honoring the many special guests, including Gerard Avellaneda and his family. “I have firsthand knowledge of the incredible generosity and spirit of this community, and I can feel the strength here this morning. On behalf of our Smile Train family, we thank you for your incredible generosity and helping us change lives and create new smiles all over the world,” Susannah shared.
Next, Kenyan led a group warm-up and stretch activity, followed by the main event — a 2.4 mile walk with fellow Smile Train’s supporters.
After the race was over, the fun continued thanks to The New York Islanders Community Events Tour — an interactive NHL theme park that included an inflatable slide, obstacles, a bounce house, and a hockey skills challenge. Islanders’ mascot Sparky the Dragon was a favorite with the children.
After everything was said and done, Kenyan said, “I know how much I value my smile — despite never having the quote-unquote perfect smile. I’m pleased to support Smile Train because they give kids the smile they've always wanted — which is very cool to me.”
Donations from the event are still coming in, but, so far, the event has already surpassed last year’s totals and has raised the funds needed to help 80+ children receive 100%-free cleft repair surgery.
If you’d like to learn more about ways to help children with untreated clefts, please visit the Get Involved section of our site. Your support will help a child receive their new smile and a second chance at life.