World Smile Day started with one commercial artist in Massachusetts. In the Philippines, it was marked with events to create smiles for cleft patients.
The creator of the smiley face, Harvey Ball, began World Smile Day in 1999 as a way to make others smile through kind acts. It has been celebrated every first Friday of October since 1999.
Last Oct. 3, Wednesday, Smile Train Philippines kicked off celebrations with a movie screening for patients and partners. The aptly chosen movie was “Wonder”, a feel-good story about a boy named Auggie who was born with a craniofacial disorder — as well as a cleft lip.
For World Smile Day itself last Friday, the charity launched an art exhibit in Centuria Medical Makati in Poblacion to raise funds for procedures that will help children born with clefts in the country. The exhibit runs until Oct. 12.
Artists who provided pieces to raise funds were Ivy Lim who is known for her handbag paintings, DJ and entrepreneur Roberto Sanchez, mixed media artist Jon Ray Fernandez, and Thai artists Jirawat Pramphet and Arthit Pansuay.
Smile Train helps impoverished families by sponsoring comprehensive cleft care, including surgeries and speech therapy. One surgery can be life-changing, freeing children from the difficulties of eating, breathing and social isolation that come with the congenital defect.