Tim Yap, Javi Martinez, and Sam Verzosa Join the 2023 London Marathon for Smile Train

The world’s largest cleft-focused organization, Smile Train, and its signature endurance fundraising program Team Empower, heads to London for the world’s largest annual fundraising event, the TCS London Marathon. Together with 50,000 other runners, celebrity couple Tim Yap and Javi Martinez, along with businessman and legislator, Cong. Sam Verzosa take on the challenge of the 26.2-mile course for a good cause.

The genuine compassion and sustained service of our Smile Train ambassadors have been an essential part of our success today. Their collective efforts have helped give patients access to the care that they deserve and have extended the organization’s reach in providing safe and quality cleft treatment. We are grateful to Tim, Javi, and Sam for furthering their advocacy and pledging their commitment to this cause,” said Southeast Asia Vice President of Smile Train Philippines, Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano.

Maximizing fundraising potential with Team Empower
Since 1981, London Marathon events have raised over £1 billion in donations, maximizing revenues for charities worldwide. Boosting participants’ fundraising abilities, the marathon’s inspiring activities have been able to support causes from breast cancer awareness to brain research initiatives and children’s charities.

Javi Martinez (Left) during the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon and Congressman Sam Verzosa (Right) during the 2023 Watsons Race for Wellness
Smile Train, one of the charities, strengthens its commitment to volunteerism and ensures that every child has the opportunity to lead a full and productive life. Together with 20+ other runners from other countries, Smile Train Team Empower will be represented by eventologist Tim Yap, his partner and events director, Javi Martinez, as well as Frontrow CEO and Congressman Sam Verzosa.
For years now, I have been committed to supporting Smile Train’s cause and helping improve the lives of children with cleft. This cause is very personal to me and what drives me the most is my realized purpose and goals of helping the organization reach more patients in need of treatment. I want to finish strong and with my partner Javi by my side as well as my dear friend Sam, my confidence has greatly multiplied,” shared Yap when asked about his motivations for joining the marathon.

One of the team’s avid supporters is Miss Universe 2015 and fellow Smile Train ambassador, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. The beauty queen, who has been a long-standing representative of Smile Train and Team Empower in numerous fundraising events, advocated for the initiative and urged fans to support her friends in the upcoming marathon.

Pia Wurtzbach
Pia Wurtzbach during her visit to Our Lady of Peace Hospital in 2017

All this support is what makes Smile Train’s programs grow stronger throughout the years. Apart from comprehensive patient treatment, Smile Train also empowers medical professionals and local hospitals with all-around high-quality cleft care. Combined efforts have allowed the organization to go beyond surgery and allow children with cleft to not just live normally, but to thrive,” concluded Flaviano.

For more information on Smile Train’s projects and initiatives, you may check out Smile Train’s website at www.smiletrain.org/ and Smile Train Philippines’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SmileTrainPhilippines.


About Smile Train Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.ph. For more information about Smile Train’s work in the Philippines, please contact philippines@smiletrain.org.

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