Ryan Ernstes, a freshman at The Walker School in Marietta, organized a five-kilometer race called the “Hot Lips Hustle." Ryan started the race to help pay for a cleft lip and palate surgeries for children around the world who otherwise cannot afford treatment. Ryan was born with a cleft lip and was fortunate enough to have received excellent treatment for her birth deformity. Realizing how lucky she was and how needy the children are, she decided to raise money for cleft children.
After deciding upon a 5K run, Ryan secured a race date and location, recruited sponsors and volunteers, and began promoting the event. She also gathered supplies, printed T-shirts, ordered trophies, and purchased food for the race.
With 225 registered runners, the race was a great success. The 2nd Annual Hot Lips Hustle was held in September of this year and proceeds from the races generated thousands of dollars for The Smile Train, a nonprofit organization that provides training and funding to doctors around the world to perform cleft surgery at no charge for needy children. To date, the Hot Lips Hustle has funded surgery for 34 children!
Ryan has made the race an annual event. “The experience taught me that the most rewarding thing you can do is help others, even those who you do not know,” she said.