Dr. Michael L. Schwartz of Palm Beach Face Running a Marathon for Smile Train

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Fundraising goal is $7,500 by February 1

A Palm Beach doctor plans to run the 2017 London Marathon in April as a fund raiser for Smile Train, an international charity that provides free surgery to poor children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate.

"Distance running is a hobby of mine and in the past I have run to support the efforts of the American Heart Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society," said Michael L. Schwartz, MD. "This year I'm running the London Marathon and will raise funds for Smile Train to help give children around the world not only new smiles, but a second chance at life."

Dr. Schwartz is a facial plastic surgery and ear, nose, and throat specialist practicing as Palm Beach Face in West Palm Beach. He has been recognized in Boca Life and The Palm Beacher magazines as one of the area's top doctors. Through his practice, he knows about the challenges and pain of living with facial deformities.

According to Smile Train, 170,000 children with cleft lip and/or palate are born annually in the developing world. Cleft lip and palate repair is routine in the U.S., but there may be no trained surgeons in developing countries, or their services may be too far away or too expensive for the children's families.

"Children born with cleft cannot eat or speak properly, aren't allowed to attend school or hold a job, and face a very difficult life of shame and isolation, pain and heartache," Dr. Schwartz said. "Some children are abandoned or even killed, all because of the way they look."

Repair surgery provided by Smile Train takes as little as 45 minutes and costs as little as $250, which is completely covered by donations. Smile Train also helps its patients obtain dental care, orthodontics, and speech therapy needed for a complete recovery.

Since 1999, Smile Train has treated more than 1 million children in more than 85 developing countries and taught local surgeons to perform the surgery.

Dr. Schwartz will run the London Marathon (26.2 miles) as part of the Smile Train team. He is committed to raising $7,500. "I hope that my personal effort and enthusiasm to support these children will motivate my friends, family, patients, and colleagues to support me by making contributions as well," Dr. Schwartz said.

Dr. Schwartz has run for charity before. He was the top fundraiser in the country for the American Heart Association's 2008 New York City Marathon team, and the single largest fundraiser in Palm Beach County for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training for the 2007 Disney Marathon.

Donations can be made on line at http://www.smiletrain.org. Checks payable to "Smile Train" may be sent to Dr. Schwartz's office, 1515 North Flagler Dr., #600, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. Call his office at (561) 517-8671 to make a credit card donation. All contributions are completely tax deductible.

"Any expression of your support will be gratefully appreciated," Dr. Schwartz said, suggesting that donors give whatever is comfortable for them. He would like to reach his goal by Feb. 1. If donations fall short of $7,500, he'll make up the difference himself.

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Dr. Michael L. Schwartz
since: 01/2010
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