Jared Popkin was only three months old when his cleft lip was repaired, so he has no memory of the procedure. But he’s seen before and after photos, and he visits Dr. Mulliken at Children’s Hospital regularly for check-ups. So last year when his third-grade teacher asked him to write an essay on what makes him special, he wrote about his cleft lip. “He’s proud of it,” says his mother, Bari,“because that’s who he is.”

In Fall2006, when Jared was 9, he was eager to take part in the FFC Walkathon. He sent e-mails to friends, neighbors, and relatives asking them to sponsor him. “This organization is important to me,” he wrote, “because the Foundation for Faces helped me when I was a baby and was born with a cleft lip.”

The response was tremendous—he collected $757. “He really took this walk to heart,” says his mother. “Every time a letter would come in the mail, he’d get so excited.You would have thought people were sending the money to him for his own use! And at the walk, he enjoyed seeing Dr. Mulliken and Dotty (nurse Dorothy MacDonald), and he felt like a celebrity.”

A resident of Needham, Jared attends the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, which stresses performing mitzvahs or charitable acts. The walk was something he wanted to do, his mother says, and FFC is grateful for his efforts. Thanks, Jared!