Smile about your contribution

to operation smile

When you realize that every three minutes a child is born with cleft palate, you can begin to see why it is so important to offer them and their families the resources to change their future. But not any resource will suffice, you want to ensure that these children get the most exceptional care possible with a surgery like this. That's why Operation Smile exists and why, as a Miss Universe Canada finalist, I am passionate about seeing through that these children not only get the help they deserve, but in the environment that will make their recovery process a thriving one.


What does operation smile provide?

Children around the world suffer from cleft palate, and are often rejected in their community, even by those who are supposed to love them most…  Unfortunately, these resource-poor environments have a dire shortage of surgical care/equipment. However, thanks to generous and caring supporters like yourself, Operation Smile is able to provide everything needed to perform a safe and sound surgery – and your donation will help fund anything from sterile operating room towels to IV kits, anesthesia and much, much more.

why care about the cause?

It's safe to say almost everyone in their life has felt like a social outcast at some point and has been stigmatized in their environment because of it. Now, think back about how that felt and how you wish others would have treated you differently. Sadly, this is what children with cleft palate go through every day. Not only are they bullied and socially stigmatized, but it also is physically challenging to eat and drink, as well as speak. These are all necessities for us as humans to have a well rounded quality of life. So why are some of us more deserving of this than others? Truth is we're not. That's why your donation can help end this turmoil for a child and change their life forever.

What is cleft palate?

Cleft palate is when there is a gap in the mouth that didn't close during the early stages of pregnancy; and sometimes the cleft can even leave a hole in the roof of the child's mouth. This can leave the child vulnerable to serious infections (such as ear infections that lead to loss of hearing), malnutrition, and other serious health issues. Fixing a cleft palate begins with the work of a caring and diligent plastic surgeon around 3 months old, providing the child with a beautiful new smile and a brand new life. To understand further and find out more, watch this video by Operation Smile.

A letter from Shanelle

and why she beleives in the cause


For myself, where I connect with Operation Smile is on the issue of the social stigma these children face every day. What this organization is doing goes far beyond providing physical health care, it's giving these kids a new life, a chance at a healthy mindset and an opportunity for confidence development. Being that mental health is something dear to my heart... I understand the repercussions of bullying based upon physical appearance and the aftermath that it can cause psychologically is completely unfair to a child that does not have a choice. Everyone deserves to feel 'confidently beautiful' inside and out. And although our outer shells are not the defining prospect of who we are and how our future unfolds... they unfortunately are where, as humans, we naturally pass judgment that can influence how we decide to think about ourselves and what we can become. I've been there, although on a lesser scale, I've been at the point where you've been picked on based upon your appearance; and the feelings that come from that can be detrimental during development years. Thus, this is the reason I am absolutely honoured to be given the opportunity to raise funds for this charity organization. Operation Smile gives me a reason to smile... and I know it will give you a reason to smile too.

— Shanelle, Miss Universe Canada Finalist 2017