Smile Train Team EMPOWER

Participates in 2017 Cobra IRONMAN 70.3® Philippines Race for the First Time

Smile Train

Funds raised will be used to provide life-changing cleft surgeries and comprehensive cleft care
to children in the developing world

MACTAN – August 5, 2017 – Smile Train is the world’s leading cleft charity, performing more 6,000 life-changing cleft repair surgeries in the Philippines every year. Smile Train’s global endurance fundraising program, Team EMPOWER, gives athletes the ability to make their race count by creating an online fundraising page and encouraging their friends and family to show support by donating to the cause.

Smile Train Team EMPOWER has charity slots to sold-out marathons and multi-sport races, including a number of IRONMAN® races around the world. This year, for the first time, Smile Train Team EMPOWER is participating in the Cobra IRONMAN 70.3 race in Mactan, Cebu. 

The team is composed of Rojan Pajarin, who was born with a cleft lip and palate and is now an elite runner; Dr. Gene Tiongco, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who performs cleft surgeries for Smile Train; swim coach Bing Benares; equestrian, Lucas Lorenzo; fashion designer, Dennis Lustico and seasoned triathletes JR Mejia, Bernard Perez, JJ Sarona, Aron Villarosa and Arlene Yu.

“Smile Train Team EMPOWER is a program that allows individuals to do what they are passionate about and, in the process, help raise awareness and generate support for Smile Train,” said Kimmy C. Flaviano, Country Director of Smile Train Philippines. “In the Philippines, there is an estimate of 5,000 children who are born with clefts every year and having ten more ambassadors speak about what we do can truly make a difference in the lives of these children. This is a great opportunity to reach more patients all over the country,” she adds. 

To learn more about Smile Train Team EMPOWER and the races, visit: or email [email protected].



About Smile Train Team EMPOWER

Smile Train Team EMPOWER is a global endurance fundraising program of Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity. Team EMPOWER gives athletes all around the world the opportunity to make their race count by providing 100%-free, safe, high-quality surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children. Smile Train Team EMPOWER athletes have helped more than 14,700 children since 2013 and have a network of 850+ alumni.

Press Contacts:

Smile Train Philippines
Kimmy C. Flaviano, Country Director
[email protected]

Smile Train Global
Nijha Diggs, Director of Public Relations
[email protected]