Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile: Running for Health, Running to Help

Press Release
Posted 3/16/2017

Virginia Beach, Va. – 10-year-old Paige Rooney is on a mission to help heal children. 

Paige (right) and her sister Brenna Rooney (left) show off their medals at the 2015 Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile.
I hope to raise some money for any child to get the operation they need to have their cleft lip and cleft palate fixed.
- Paige Rooney

The Strawbridge Elementary School student will serve as a VIP runner in the 11th annual Operation Smile Final Mile on March 18th. It’s a cause close to her heart.

Paige Rooney giving a donation to the Associate VP of Student Programs Jennifer Krzewinski at Operation Smile Headquarters.
Paige was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. She was about two-weeks-old when she had her first surgery.
- April Rooney, Paige's mother
April and Paige Rooney.
I’m going to tell people why it’s important for kids to have their cleft lip fixed: so they are able to go to school.
- Paige Rooney

Over the past two years through a handful of fundraisers – including a lemonade stand and a cupcake stand – Rooney has raised enough money to cover six surgeries, which can cost as little as $240, for children suffering from cleft conditions in low- and middle-income countries.

About the Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile

J&A Racing in partnership with Operation Smile is pleased to host the 2017 Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile. This will mark the 11th year of the partnership, which has brought Miles of Smiles to Hampton Roads. Students are encouraged to run at school and at home in the weeks preceding the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend to accumulate 25.2 total miles and then complete the “final mile” of their 26.2 mile marathon on race day, which is March 18, 2017.  In addition to the mission of keeping students active, this program also encourages children helping children, as students are educated about the mission of Operation Smile, which is to provide access to safe surgery around the world.     

About Operation Smile

Operation Smile is an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care. Since 1982, Operation Smile has developed expertise in mobilizing volunteer medical teams to conduct surgical missions in resource-poor environments while adhering to the highest standards of care and safety. Operation Smile helps to fill the gap in providing access to safe, well-timed surgeries by partnering with hospitals, governments and ministries of health, training local medical personnel, and donating much-needed supplies and equipment to surgical sites around the world. Founded and based in Virginia, U.S., Operation Smile has extended its global reach to more than 60 countries through its network of credentialed surgeons, pediatricians, doctors, nurses, and student volunteers. For more information, visit www.operationsmile.org