Operation Smile honors top donors, Greenwich residents Lisa and Mat Lori

From left, Mat Lori, a child who is undergoing surgery, his mother, Lisa Lori, and Bill Magee, the co-founder and CEO of Operation Smile, pose for a photo in Panama.

From left, Mat Lori, a child who is undergoing surgery, his mother, Lisa Lori, and Bill Magee, the co-founder and CEO of Operation Smile, pose for a photo in Panama.

At its 12th annual Smile Event on Thursday, May 1, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, Operation Smile will be honoring Greenwich residents Lisa and Mat Lori.

NBC news anchor Natalie Morales, of The Today Show, will be hosting the event. Talk show host and former football star Michael Strahan will also appear. The Smile Event will highlight Operation Smile’s work in Latin America with a Latin American theme for the evening.

Operation Smile is the world’s largest medical charity of its kind providing free cleft surgery and care. The organization will be recognizing individuals who have shown great dedication and contribution “to the work of healing smiles worldwide.” The Loris, along with Kathy Van Zeeland and her husband, Bruce Makowsky, will be given the Founders Circle Award. Together the Lori and Makowsky families have raised nearly $1 million for Operation Smile.

“It is an honor and privilege for us to be accepting this award,” said Ms. Lori in a press release. “We are proud to share this with our dear friends, Kathy Van Zeeland and Bruce Makowsky, and to continue to support the incredible work of Operation Smile throughout the world.”

The Loris, Ms. Van Zeeland and Mr. Makowsky have helped Operation Smile share the joy of a simple smile through their many fundraisers and initiatives. Most notably, they launched an extraordinary project called, The Three Little Bears, named after the Lori’s three sons, Zachary, Luke and Griffin, who were all born with facial paralysis.

The Three Little Bears initiative allows for a commemorative and cuddly teddy bear to be given to children worldwide before they go into surgery. The honorees, and the Lori’s eldest son, Zachary, traveled to Panama last year to witness the work of Operation Smile firsthand. The experience solidified their commitment to changing the lives of children globally.

Proceeds from the Smile Event will support children and surgeries specifically in Latin America. For updates on Operation Smile’s global efforts, visit Operationsmile.org.

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