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Athletics wives organize charity treadmill run for Smile Train

Photo Credit: Alex Espinoza / Real-Time Correspondent

On Friday night, about a dozen wives, fiancees and girlfriends of the Oakland Athletics took part in a charity treadmill run in left field. From the first pitch until the final out, the women took turns running on a treadmill in an effort to raise money for Smile Train, a worldwide organization that helps children with cleft lips or palates.

The Miles For Smiles program was conceived by Angie Balfour, wife of A's closer Grant, and then pitched to the A's and Smile Train, who jumped behind it with their full support. With every mile the ladies ran, the A's raised more money to help children around the globe.

"It's been awesome," Angie Balfour said. "We've had some very generous donations from the players and their wives."

With a network that reaches nearly 90 countries and includes more than 1,100 partner hospitals and 2,300 medical professionals, Smile Train is approaching 1 million supported surgeries since the organization's inception in 1999. Not only does Smile Train offer surgeries, but it trains medical staffs worldwide to promote proactive measures to fight clefts in children.

"This is a long-term relationship showing people how to grow their medical communities," said Smile Train Community Fundraising Manager Nicole Federico. "To see it all come together tonight was amazing."