Nathan Abbott, who studies at the Kent Business School at the University, was himself born with a cleft palate and has had to undergo almost 30 operations since birth.
Despite this when aged 16 he realised that compared to many young people worldwide with the same condition he was lucky to be born in a part of the world where operations are available. This led him to setup Freestyle 4 Smile, a fundraising movement to boost awareness of this deformity worldwide and raise money for Smile Train.
To date he has raised over £15,000 for the charity. The majority of this fundraising has come from a series of 15-mile open-water swimming events at the age of 16 and 17. More recently, he has created an annual open-water race and high-profile charity gala.
Thanks to this work Nathan has become the first UK youth ambassador for Smile Train and has recently been promoting its work in light of the release of the movie Wonder, about a child with facial abnormalities and the social issues that those affected by such conditions endure.
More information on the work Freestyle 4 Smile does for Smile Train can be found online – www.freestyle4smile.com.