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ODU Basketball & Operation Smile Challenge Fans To Support At Blue-White

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: October 27, 2011
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Oct. 27, 2011

Hoops for Smiles, Benefitting Children Worldwide Suffering from Clefts

NORFOLK, Va. - Operation Smile and Old Dominion University are teaming up to help children worldwide who are suffering from cleft lips and cleft palates. During the Blue-White Scrimmage on Saturday, October 29,at approximately 4 p.m. ODU fans are asked to bring items for the Smile Bags that are given to patients on Operation Smile medical missions. The first 600 children to attend will receive a free exclusive Hoops for Smiles basketball.

Operation Smile provides free reconstructive surgery for children worldwide, healing their smiles and giving them hope for a brighter future. After patients receive their life-transforming surgery on a medical mission, each child receives a Smile Bag bursting with goodies. One of the most important items in the Smile Bags is a mirror so that children can see their new smiles for the first time. Smile Bags are the perfect gift to cheer a healing child.

During the traditional ODU Blue-White Scrimmage for both the men's and the women's basketball teams, fans are asked to donate the following Smile Bag items:
	small shampoos (.85 to 1.4 oz size, screw-on top only)
	small combs (no rat tails)
	new washcloths
	bars of soap (small hotel size)
	sample-size toothpaste tubes (check expiration date - not expired)
	child-size toothbrushes (single package)
	small stuffed animals (Beanie Baby® size)
	8-pack boxes of coloring crayons
	thin 8.5" x 11" coloring books
	small square mirrors (approximate size 3"x 3")
Operation Smile's Hoops for Smiles program was created to help educate our future leaders about the benefits of giving back to children in need in their communities and around the world. Through athletics - and in particular, the sport of basketball which is one of the most popular sports in the world - Operation Smile's global mission is further strengthened. Hoops for Smiles is part of Operation Smile's Student Programs. More than 700 Operation Smile Student Clubs around the globe build awareness and educate students about our core values of commitment, leadership and volunteerism.

Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. In developing countries, the parents of these children can't afford the surgery their child so desperately needs. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. Through the help of dedicated medical volunteers and generous donations, Operation Smile has provided more than 200,000 free surgeries for children born with clefts. For more information about Operation Smile's global efforts, please visit www.operationsmile.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/operationsmile and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/operationsmile.

About Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org) Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is an international children's medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose network of more than 5,000 medical volunteers from 76 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 2 million patient evaluations and conducted over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities, as well as patients suffering from burns. To build long-term self-sufficiency in developing countries, Operation Smile donates medical equipment, provides year-round medical treatment through Comprehensive Care Centers, and trains local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their own local communities.

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