Steve Anthony: “We Rise by Helping Others”
Steve Anthony is a company director living in rural Staffordshire, close to the Peak District National Park. He and his wife have four teenage children, and when they’re not providing a taxi service for their brood, Steve likes to partake in clay pigeon shooting, trekking, and keeping his 2005 Land Rover Defender 90 County Station Wagon in good order. Below, he shares his cleft journey and how it led him to support Smile Train.
Just like my surgeries, I remember little of how I first learnt about Smile Train, as it was so long ago. I do remember, however, that what initially inspired me to give them my support was learning that, unlike other cleft charities, they train healthcare workers in developing countries to perform surgeries and provide other essential cleft care to the highest standard.
I think the absolutely life-changing impact cleft surgeries have on children in need is incredible, and the before-and-after pictures and stories Smile Train sends of its patients always warm my heart and brighten my day.
I was very happy to make regular donations for many years, until a well-timed email inspired me to take my support even further. I have been working on the idea of ‘leaning-in’ to my challenges lately, to really become a leader in making change happen. So when I received an invitation to join Smile Train UK’s Cleft Community Advisory Council (CCAC) — a group of people with clefts who share my resolute determination to educate about clefts and increase the rate at which children and adults can receive the treatment they need — I knew straight away this was the perfect opportunity to truly lean into a cause I have a passion for.
I’ve always felt a deep affinity with other ‘clefties’, and I love how being part of a cleft community makes me feel connected to and responsible for what happens to us. The CCAC is about belonging to something and doing things together; it’s about humanity, and that’s so important to me in this materialistic world. Everyone needs a helping hand, and we rise by lifting others.
To me, that’s what all of Smile Train’s work is all about, too. Who wouldn’t want to spread hope?
My message to a child with a cleft who is about to receive treatment from Smile Train is simple: “You’re not alone. You’re part of a community that genuinely cares about you. Your cleft can be treated, so never give up hope that your life will improve. You’re beautiful and you always have been.”