DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake is doing something meaningful with his time off before the start of training camp in July, and it involves helping children from around the world.
Last week, the 25-year-old was out raising awareness about children born with the birth defects cleft lip and cleft palate.
Drake said this is the least he can do to lend a helping hand.
“I didn’t grow up with anything at all, so the fact that I wound up where I am, I’m blessed to be in a situation that I want to be a blessing to somebody else,” he said.
Drake has been working with Smile Train, a nonprofit that helps children in 80 countries born with cleft lip or cleft palate.
“It was our due diligence to kind of help the next generation in any way possible,” said Drake. “A smile is everything, and that’s the first impression. When you can change a kid’s confidence, that just leads to everything else in his life.”
Drake was in Mexico in 2018 to meet with doctors, and the young patients they were helping.
The athlete said there’s a stigma attached to these children.
“When these kids are born, their moms and their fathers see a kid with this type of affliction. They feel like it’s some type of bad thing,” said Drake. “They discard the kid, so when people come in and bring them awareness and let them know that this thing can be fixed, it brings more awareness to the kid, and it saves a life, literally.”
Troy Reinhart, Smile Train’s senior vice president of development, said parents who desperately want to help their children do not pay for the procedures, and there are many.
“Most children will need like six or seven surgeries. They’ll need speech therapy,” he said. “Really, we’re just investing more into their future, so they’ll live just like you and I.”
Drake is scheduled to travel to Brazil later in June to continue to bring awareness in an effort to help even more children.
“Just my love for kids and the ability to just help them in any way possible,” he said. “I feel that this is a great thing, and I love to be a part of it.”
Dolphins defensive tackle Durval Queiroz Neto, who is from Brazil, will be joining Drake in São Paulo. Queiroz Neto was allocated by the NFL to the team as part of the league’s International Player Pathway Program.
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