Smile Gala San Francisco

James Nicholas and Matt Nicholas with Smile Gala Co-chairs Shab Farzaneh and Shirin Aryanpour

Operation Smile gave our community something to smile about at its 5th annual San Francisco Smile Gala on November 5, 2016. The event, chaired by Shab Farzaneh and Shirin Aryanpour, raised over $220,000, enough funds to provide life-changing cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries for over 900 children.

The evening included remarks from Dr. Arash Babaoff, a pediatrician who has volunteered on over 40 medical missions with Operation Smile. He shared heartfelt stories of the impact that a cleft lip surgery can make on the life of a child. Then, Bay Area native Matt Nicholas and his young brother James, who was born with a cleft lip, stole everyone’s heart. “I will always be his protector,” said Matt. “To me James was already perfect, but I worried that other people would make fun of him. No one deserves that. I want all kids who are born with a cleft to have the same opportunity as my brother. Please give money to this great cause.”

Scenes from the Smile Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco:

Master of Ceremonies Liam Mayclem presented Operation Smile’s Corporate Humanitarian Award to Balsam Hill, the leading retailer of beautifully realistic artificial Christmas trees, for their support since 2014.

Major event sponsors: Fremont Bank, Hint Water, Mo and Jessica Malek
In-kind donors: Ca’ Momi Winery, Lladró Spanish Porcelain and White Oak Vineyards

— Related — Red Carpet Bay Area coverage of past San Francisco Smile Galas: