Lily Johnson

Congratulations Lily Johnson from everyone at Team Miles for Smiles. At only 9 years old, Lily is the youngest ever Miles for Smiles Triathlon competitor. Completing a 150 metre swim, a 1.6 kilometre cycle, and a 1 kilometre run, Lily raised an incredible for £1,313.76 for Operation Smile. Even more impressive, Lily was the second girl to cross the finish line on the day. Due to Lily’s breath-taking achievements, the lives of nine children will be changed by giving them the opportunity to smile.

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Since the event, Lily has taken her triathlon medal into her school’s ‘Show and Tell’ and took the time to introduce Operation Smile to all of her classmates. Lily wrote to us, and you can read her story below:

My name is Lily Johnson, I am 9 years old and live in North London. I first saw pictures of children with Cleft palates in a magazine and asked my Dad why it had pictures of children, he explained it was a charity raising money to operate on children with Cleft palates. I couldn't believe it only cost the price of a 3DS game console to give one of the children the operation they needed. I thought about helping the children but wasn't sure how.

I tried to think of a way of raising money and after watching my Uncle run the marathon so I decided I would like to do something similar. My Dad found out about the Hillingdon triathletes Grassman triathlon and thats when I decided this would be my challenge. 

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After what seemed like a long waiting the day finally arrived. My challenge was to swim 300 metres, cycle 1.6 km and run 1 km. I was quite surprised to see there was 80 - 100 people competing on the day, in my group of 8 to 10 age group there were 17 boy and girls in total. I was quite nervous as some of the other children were members of Triathlon clubs and seem to be competitive and confident.

 I was determined to complete the Triathlon and do my very best, I managed to finish in 11th place out of 17 children, but when the results were email to us later that day I was extremely surprised to find out I was the second girl to cross the finishing line.

 Although I was pleased to have completed the Triathlon the greatest achievement was to have raised the sponsorship for the children.

Lily Johnson

“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder and President