Celeb Heroes help repair cleft lips and palates.

Just found out about a bunch of celebs like Gwen Stefani* and Harrison Ford** who’ve signed holiday tree ornaments, which are being auctioned off on eBay. Go here to bid before the December 16 deadline to get an autographed, quality Balsam Hill*** ornament—perhaps for a song (many are $7 to $70 at the moment)—to benefit OperationSmile. As you may know, the non-profit Operation Smile provides free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children in more than 60 countries.

Cleft lip and palate: nothing to smile about.


           Gwen Stefani signing Balsam Hill ornament for Operation Smile.

As a cleft-afflicted person, I know first hand the importance of a smile. Songwriters write about smiles. Politicians, beauty contestant, and many others in the public eye often smile till their faces hurt. Thus, a child who can’t smile because the muscles around his mouth are defective denies his parents’ essential feedback and reinforcement for all their hard work. Later in life, cleft kids who don’t smile because of crooked teeth, gaps where their remains open, or  depression about their appearance or speech . . . become targets for bullies.

So, smiles are a wonderful thing that everyone is entitled to. And more importantly, every cleft deserves to have his/her lip and palate closed so that they may eat and speak properly. Studies have found one child in ten in the developing world born with cleft palate will die before their first birthday.

Operation Smile.

All money raised by the eBay sale of autographed ornaments will go to Operation Smile. According to Dr. Bill Magee, founder of the charity,  Operation Smile has provided over 220,000 free surgical procedures around the world to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. For information about Operation Smile, go here. Magee often says, and I agree,  “there are are so many problems in the world that have no solution but for this, for children suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate, there is a solution.”

 Harrison Ford  Wiki Cmns

Harrison Ford Wiki Cmns

More than 30 celebrities have signed so far, with many more joining the campaign everyday. A partial list of some of the people participating so far includes: John Berman, Mark Burnett, Billy Bush, Alisyn Camerota, Chris Cuomo, Roma Downey, Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford,** Michael Franti, Kit Hoover, Kevin Jonas, Gayle King, Chris and Peyton Lambton, Zachary Levi, Sugar Ray Leonard, Adam Levine, Jay Manuel, Jack McGee, Jon McLaughlin, Holly Robinson Peete, Missy Peregrym, Michaela Pereira, Gavin Rossdale, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani,* Michael Strahan, Michaela Pereira, Alfonso Ribeiro, Elaine Turner, Meredith Vieira, Kate Walsh, Mark Wahlberg, Pharrell Williams, the cast of Days Of Our Lives, and the hosts of The Doctors.

You can change someone’s life this holiday season by buying an ornament.  An Operation Smile cleft lip/palate repair costs $240. There’s hardly anything more incredible than that.


*Gwen Renée Stefani,   born October 3, 1969, is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer, and actress. She is the co-founder and lead vocalist of the rock band No Doubt. Stefani’s style is dance-pop, ska hip hop.

**Harrison Ford, born July 13, 1942, is an American actor. He gained worldwide fame for his starring roles as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

 *** Balsam Hill has pledged $25,000 to Operation Smile as part of the #celebritiesforsmiles program, and has donated beautiful, one of a kind ornaments from their new, high-quality home decor collection for celebrities to autograph. Their goal has been to enlist  celebrities from fashion, television, film, music sports, and media.  



To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.

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