Resilient Middle School Student is on a Mission to Fund More Missions for Global Children’s Charity, Operation Smile

Press Release
Posted 10/9/2019

Imagine having to go through the ordeal of having 7 surgeries before entering the 7th grade. This is reality for middle schooler, Elizabeth Alberti who was born with a unilateral cleft lip and cleft palate, which is a tear in the lip and roof of the mouth.

“I remember being very nervous to be going through another surgery but then it dawned on me. I am so lucky to be having my surgery. There are so many kids around the world that would give anything to have one surgery,” explained Elizabeth.

Elizabeth decided to turn her focus from fear to fundraising for Operation Smile, an international children’s charity that provides free surgery to children born with cleft lips and cleft palates all around the world. Since 2018, Elizabeth has raised over $20,000 for the organization through her “Team WE” Facebook page and she doesn’t want to stop there.

As people around the world celebrate World Smile Day on Oct. 4th, Elizabeth is working on a new initiative to help more children born with a cleft lip or cleft palate to gain a new smile. “I am now on a mission to fund more medical missions. My new goal is to raise enough to give 120 patients a new smile,” stated Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s surgeon at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Dr. Arun Gosain recognized all of her amazing courage and passion for Operation Smile’s mission. He nominated her for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Patients of Courage Award, which Elizabeth won. Elizabeth won the 2019 American Society of Plastic Surgeons Patients of Courage Award because of her ability to overcome fear of her own surgery by selflessly wanting help others in need of one.

“Operation Smile has helped me escape my own fears and put my focus on others,” said Elizabeth, who’s now 12 years old. “It’s been an amazing experience, and I’m so proud of our progress. So many people have helped me get to this point. I love Operation Smile, and it makes me so happy to be able to help other kids born with cleft,” she added.

About Operation Smile: Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most.  As one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Operation Smile engages public-private partnerships to advance health care delivery, train local medical professionals to provide surgical care for patients in their communities, donate crucial medical equipment and supplies, and increase access to surgical care so that everyone living with cleft is treated. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.