Metodi and Dasha are a young family that expects to have twins. Great news! However, in the fourth month of the pregnancy they are informed that one of the kids will be born with an anomaly - a cleft lip and palate. At that time they do not know much about the "rabbit lip". Like most people they have met in their lives children with scars on the lip, and just like most people they have thought that it is just an issue related to the physical appearance.
They start to gather more information about the children with cleft lips and palates and they learn that it is a problem, which is much more than a cosmetic issue. Besides the physical appearance, this anomaly affects the speech of the kid as well. In most of the cases the cleft is to be treated by a multidisciplinary team - the surgeon is to close the cleft and/or palate, but afterwards, an orthodontist, speech therapist, otolaryngologist are to assist as well. To receive information, to coordinate all this specialists throughout the treatment is a real challenge for each parent.
They are lucky that they could be assisted by the non-governmental organization ALA (Association of the patients with facial anomalies and their parents). ALA do their job in the Saint Georgi Hospital in Plovdiv and give they hand in carrying out the surgeries - the only treatment stage covered by the National Health Insurance Fund. Besides, ALA aims to support the parents by providing them with the necessary information for the treatment stages from the birth of the child till it comes of age, they coordinate the different departments and how on time they react and tracks the development of the patients. Furthermore, they support (financially as well, as much as possible) the orthodontic and speech therapy of the children.
Metodi and Dasha do their best for their child - it has undergone already two surgeries, but ahead of it is the long way towards improving its speech as well as self-esteem. The child together with its brother, at the time when they were under one year old, had already a good number of achievements in the field of sports - they have climbed Musala and Cherni Vrah, took part in trail runs, and one of their latest feats was the participation in the half marathon of Sofia.
Let us move a little ahead in time. Svetoslav Markov, a friend and colleague of Metodi was travelling home from a trail run competition in the outskirts of Sofia. He was still high in adrenaline, when he came up with an idea - to run together for a cause, to make a movie for the run in which Metodi to share details about the children with clefts in order to raise the awareness among the people and to be able to gather financial support for the children with clefts. The conversation was a quick one, and no persuasion was needed. The route was chosen as well - the Botev Path from Kozloduy to the Vratsa Balkan. One of the longest pedestrian routes in Bulgaria is not very popular currently, and the initiative aims to remind the people about it.
Metodi shares the idea with his friend Daniel Ivanov. A man with quite an experience in the trail runs. Dani suggests that the idea gets even bigger. In the first day he, Slavi and Metodi, as well as anybody else who want to participate will run the distance from Kozloduy to Vratsa. In the second day a mass start will take place - from the central square of Vratsa up in the Vratsa Balkan and then will circle back to the square.
"Run with a Smile" is our charity initiative in which we invite you to participate. It is a competition in which there will be only one winner - the children with clefts - 100% of the sum collected from fees and materials will be donated directly to ALA in order to support the therapies to as many children as possible.
If the distance seems to long for you, keep in mind that it is not necessary to run all the time, and be reminded that one child along with its brother will go through the whole route with its parents. In case you cannot take part in the run, you could join us with a donation by buying some of our materials.