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Smile Train CEO Stepping Out As Ridgefield Family Organizes Benefit Walk

Isabel Christofor outside the Toy Chest to promote the Mile for a Smile walk in Ridgefield.
Isabel Christofor outside the Toy Chest to promote the Mile for a Smile walk in Ridgefield. Photo Credit: Contributed

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Ridgefield resident Steven Christofor and his daughter Isabel will host their third annual "Mile For A Smile" fundraising and awareness walk Sunday, Oct. 23. The walk will benefit Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity.

The walk is open to the public, and Smile Train’s CEO Susannah Schaefer and Ridgefield’s First Selectman Rudy Marconi will be in attendance.

The walk starts at 2 p.m. in front of The Toy Chest, 441 Main St., in downtown Ridgefield and will go to The Cass Gilbert Fountain and return to Planet Pizza at 411 Main St. Planet Pizza will serve pizza to those participating in the walk.

Steven Christofor got the idea for "Mile For A Smile" during a late-night walk with neighbors and Ridgefield natives Ondrea Milo and Theresa Rzeczycki in August 2014. He mentioned how he wanted to host an event for Smile Train and he had been thinking about it for some time. Both neighbors urged him to “Do it now,” and the very next day he went to Marconi’s office to get the proper permissions.

“We are excited to have Susannah Schaefer join us this year as we raise awareness and funds for Smile Train,” Christofor said. “This year, our goal is to raise $1,250, which will provide cleft repair surgery to five children born with clefts in developing countries.”

Millions of children in developing countries with untreated clefts live in isolation, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate.

In the last two years, the walk has raised more than $3,790, which has helped provide free cleft repair surgery to more than 15 children.

For more information regarding the walk or to donate to Smile Train, click here or bring a check made out to Smile Train. Donations will be accepted, but are not required to walk. Christofor and his daughter will be at The Toy Chest from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday to promote the walk and accept donations.

To learn more, visit smiletrain.org.

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