She stood at the podium with microphone in hand and appreciatively remarked to the audience gathered at the Wetaskiwin Legion on May 1st, 2015, “I am so thankful for your support with my journey to the Miss Universe Canada competition but more importantly for being here this evening in support of a truly wonderful and inspiring cause, Operation Smile.”
Beautiful, articulate, confident. Yet seemingly unpretentious. This describes Ms. Kathryn Kohut, a finalist in the 13th edition of the Miss Universe Canada 2015 competition, May 16th to May 23rd, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario. Although there are many beautiful and talented young ladies who could qualify to compete in the Miss Universe contest, Kathryn, by example, illustrates her core values; family, community, commitment and hard work.
The competition date of May 16th is rapidly approaching. Still, Ms. Kohut took valuable time from attending to personal details in preparation for the Miss Universe Canada competition and her professional career as a fourth generation pipeline worker (full time Health and Safety Advisor) to plan and host a fundraiser for a cause she so strongly believes in, Operation Smile, Canada.
The entire fundraising event was a clear indication that she understands the importance of setting goals and works hard to achieve them. And that is why the successful fundraiser surpassed her goal of $5000.
Kathryn shared with the audience, why she is so passionate about the cause. “Smiles are contagious. But I stand before you to speak on behalf of all the children who cannot smile. These are children all around the world who were born with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities. Operation Smile is an organization with over 6000 medical volunteers providing safe, effective surgery to children all around the world. They work in over 60 different countries most of them helping children and families most of whom have never seen a doctor before or had any medical help. One of these life-changing experiences takes as little as 45 minutes and can cost as little as $240. The money is used to cover the cost of medical supplies and equipment since all the staff including the surgeons are volunteers.”
Operation Smile describes their services, “Globally, we’re planning to provide 20,000 free surgeries to waiting children in 2015. Your support allows Operation Smile to transform the lives of children and families in some of the world’s most resource poor countries.
It takes only about 45 minutes to repair a cleft lip or cleft palate. But the difference it makes lasts a lifetime. That new smile allows a child to go to school, make friends, and grow up strong and healthy.”
Ms. Kohut has a history of helping others. “One of my proudest personal accomplishments was devoting my efforts to the Rosetown Youth Centre in Saskatchewan while I was working there on my last project. I launched a fundraiser that raised substantial funds for their new centre. I know that I am doing my part to change lives for the better. I also spent time at the local medical clinic working with senior citizens.”
While in Costa Rica, she volunteered in a community center, a woman’s shelter and a dog shelter. “I also helped repair and rebuild houses for some grateful families in very underprivileged areas. The experience was beautiful and humbling and it is one that I will never forget.”
Kathryn summed up her thoughts by stating, “So thank you all so much for being here this evening to help support me and this amazing organization helping children all around the world being able to smile.”