Account Manager, Lauren Knight, and her fiancé Andrew Jacobs, are running the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on October 9 to raise money for Smile Train, a charity organisation that provides corrective surgery across the world to children born with cleft lips and palates. The charity and its work are particularly close to their hearts following the birth in March 2016 of their son, Ben, who was born with a cleft lip and palate.
Lauren and Andrew were well prepared, having been notified of Ben’s condition early on in the pregnancy by NHS doctors following the results of a routine scan. According to Lauren, the support and care provided by the NHS has been excellent and Ben is now doing well having undergone the first of many surgeries in July. Unfortunately this type of care is not as accessible in many parts of the world, which is why the couple have chosen to raise money for Smile Train.
Since it was established in 1998, Smile Train has funded more than one million cleft repair surgeries, growing to become the world’s largest cleft charity. From its headquarters in New York, the charity provides free corrective cleft surgery in 87 countries, training local doctors and providing hospital funding for the procedures. In addition, the charity provides funding to children that might need dental care, orthodontics, and speech therapy as a result of the condition.
Lauren and Andrew are currently training whenever possible for the half marathon where they will compete alongside 16,000 other runners in a race across central London. The 13.1 mile route passes many of the capital’s most famous landmarks including four of London’s eight Royal Parks.
Speaking on the challenge ahead of them, Lauren comments, “Our amazing son Ben was born in March 2016 with cleft lip and palate, a condition that affects one in every 700 babies in the UK. Many people don’t have a great understanding of cleft. It can come with feeding, breathing and speaking difficulties. This is why we are so lucky to have received such fantastic care from the NHS and cleft services.
“Without access to this sort of care, millions of children in developing countries with untreated clefts live in isolation. Andrew and I feel strongly that all cleft babies deserve treatment, which is why we have decided to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon to raise money for Smile Train. We hope that our friends and colleagues in the telecoms and IT community can get behind us and would be grateful for any donations, no matter how small, for this worthy charity.”
To support Lauren and Andrew, visit their just giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lauren-Knight7