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Race to Raise Awareness for Children with Clefts

Smile Train Philippines recently held a Team EMPOWER Mixer which served as a send-off for the athletes who will be participating in different endurance races such as the upcoming IRONMAN® Subic Bay Philippines this June 2018. In photo from L-R: Dr. Gene Tiongco, Rojan Pajarin, Shiela Gagui, Marge Camacho, Smile Train Philippines Country Director Kimmy Flaviano, Bing Benares, Andres Mayol, Dr. Levi Maliwat, Carlene Aguilar


MANILA, Philippines – In time for the upcoming IRONMAN® Subic Bay Philippines, Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft charity, held a Team EMPOWER Mixer, which gathered current and former Team EMPOWER athletes and endurance race enthusiasts to raise awareness for children living with untreated clefts in the Philippines.


At the mixer, Smile Train introduced the newest athletes under their global endurance fundraising program, Team EMPOWER, who will be racing in the first IRONMAN® race in the Philippines this June. Some of the athletes that will be participating in the race are: former beauty queen and celebrity Carlene Aguilar, neurosurgeon and triathlete Dr. Levi Maliwat, and seasoned endurance racers Riz Estrada and Sheila Gagui. These athletes will be racing alongside Rojan Pajarin, who was born with a cleft lip and palate, and is racing his first full IRONMAN® this June.


“We recognize that more people want to contribute their time and talents for good causes. Through Smile Train Team EMPOWER, athletes can continue to do what they love most and in the process, create a brighter future for children born with clefts,” said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Country Director, Smile Train Philippines.


Team EMPOWER decided to host a mixer after seeing the success of the organization’s participation in the 2017 Cobra IRONMAN 70.3®. Smile Train athletes who raced at the 2017 event in Mactan, Cebu, were able to raise enough funds to perform at least 100 surgeries in the Philippines.

Also present at the mixer were members of Team EMPOWER: Dr. Gene Tiongco who just raced in the ALVEO Ironman® 70.3 in Davao and will race in the Ironman® 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Cebu, Bing Benares who will be running the Berlin Marathon in September, and Marge Camacho who will be running the Chicago marathon in October.

For more information about Smile Train’s global efforts and to make a donation, please visit Follow Smile Train Philippines on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at@SmileTrainPhilippines.