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Lindsay Burke: The Engineer of the Smile Train

Lindsay BurkeLindsay Burke knows she’s fortunate. Her bright smile no longer shows any trace of the cleft palate that she was born with. But rather than forget about the past, she’s driven by a need to help others born with the condition.

Lindsay, a senior and avid tennis player at Hilton Head Island High School, is an active fundraiser for the Smile Train foundation, a global charity that helps teach local doctors and provides free surgeries to children in 78 of the world’s poorest countries born with cleft lips or palates.

“I decided to combine two of the things most important to me — my tennis and helping Smile Train — and came up with the idea of holding a tennis exhibition at my home club in Spanish Wells to raise money,” she explains.

The fundraiser was held Oct. 17 and co-organized by Spanish Wells Tennis Club head pro (and Lindsay’s childhood coach) Mike Caboy. Lindsay played in the event herself, and ran her own publicity campaign through posters, banners and an e-mail campaign. By all accounts the day was a success: More than 150 supporters turned out, and an astonishing $9,000 was raised, enough to fund 36 surgeries. The event was so successful that there is talk of it becoming an annual event for a rotation of different charities.

“Of course I would love to help out each year, even if it meant traveling back to the island from college,” Lindsay adds.