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Grant Balfour makes smiles happen in Mexico

Grant and Angie visited the children's charity Smile Train to create some smiles of their own.

Grant and Angie with a patient and her mother in Mexico.
Grant and Angie with a patient and her mother in Mexico.

Grant and Angie Balfour headed to Mexico this month to visit the Smile Train charity. Smile Train is an international children’s charity dedicated to repairing cleft lip and palate. The procedure is very simple (taking around 45 minutes), inexpensive at $250, and changes a child's life. The surgery not only gives children smiles, it also helps them to eat, speak, and breathe much easier.

Nearly 170,000 children are born with cleft palate a year and most in developing countries cannot afford the procedure. Grant and Angie have been long time supporters throughout his career in baseball, going back to Grant’s first stint with the Rays.

The Rays and Athletics have each previously organized Miles for Smiles charity events with the help of the players' wives and friends of the teams, partially inspired by the Balfour's interest.

Grant and Angie have worked with the Rays to use funds from auctions, raffles, and ticket sales to aid Miles for Smiles in its mission to give children free cleft surgery.

Grant and Angie recently visited the charity to meet with some of the children they support to see the transformations firsthand. On the trip to Mexico, they also met with some of the parents and friends of the children to spread some happiness. Real Housewives of New York star Kristen Taekman and actress Sammi Hanratty joined them on the trip.

Smile Train is the largest children’s cleft charity and has provided more than one million free surgeries since it was founded in 1999. The charity is dedicated to providing training to doctors in 85+ countries to make the surgery more available and universal.

We got to briefly catch up with Grant regarding his visit to the Smile Train partners in Mexico regarding his passion for this charity, and the effect it's had on him.

"What the head makes cloudy, the heart makes clear. The most sincere smile is the one that struggles through the tears. We've seen the before-and-after photos of those kids and how can that not make you feel better? You see the magnitude of what this organization does. You see kids smile, and they're so innocent."

Thank you Grant and Angie, for investing in the lives of these children, and for leading by example.