Actress Roma Downey touched the lives of families across America in her portrayal of angel Monica on CBS-TV's "Touched by An Angel." Today, she continues her role as a real-life angel by touching children's lives through her work as a spokesperson and Board of Governors member for Operation Smile.
In 2003, she traveled to Vietnam to take part in an Operation Smile international mission, where she met and fell in love with 2-year-old Son, born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. After helping the child through surgery, Downey was touched by the child's bravery. In February 2006, Downey traveled with Operation Smile to Honduras and met Madelein before she received surgery to repair her cleft lip.
At Operation Smile's Los Angeles fundraising gala in September 2006, Downey was reunited with Madelein. In March 2008, Downey traveled with her husband Mark Burnett and their three children to Amman, Jordan, to attend an Operation Smile medical mission as well as the opening ceremony of the Roma Downey Life Support Training Center.
The Training Center will provide local medical professionals with Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) training in accordance with Operation Smile's International Training Organization accreditation with the American Heart Association. Downey donated life support program equipment and books, as well as funds needed to support training programs for one year.
Mark Burnett, known for pioneering reality television, joined his wife Roma Downey in February of 2006 on an Operation Smile medical mission in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and in 2008 in Amman, Jordan.
He continues his support as a Smile Ambassador for Operation Smile.
A cleft-lip or cleft palate can prevent eating or drinking.