Fundraiser helps those in need

Professors and students in Minot State University’s communication disorders department are raising money for the international organization Operation Smile, which performs cleft palate surgeries in Third World countries.

Lesley Magnus, an associate professor of communication disorders at Minot State, said the project is a “Power of 100” volunteer project in honor of Minot State’s centennial. The volunteers have the goal of raising $24,000, which will pay for 100 cleft palate surgeries. The cost of one surgery is about $240.

“We’re about halfway through our campaign,” said Magnus. “We have raised funds for 46 surgeries so far.”

Magnus said fundraising has been done through a variety of avenues. Communication disorders professors or students have visited local service clubs, promoted the project through the media and have conducted private fundraising with friends and family. Students have also raised money by providing security at hockey games, providing baby sitting services during a local conference and hosting an upcoming dance in association with ROTORACT on Feb. 7, among other activiites. Donations have come from organizations and individuals in both the United States and Canada. Many communications disorders majors are Canadian..

Magnus said the group hopes to complete the fundraising effort by May 1, in time for its third annual Miles for Smiles walk.

People can donate online at ( or by e-mailing or calling 858-3092.

Checks should be made out to Operation Smile MSU Power of 100. Tax receipts will be provided by Operation Smile.

Minot State’s communication disorders department also offers the Minot Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic four times per year in conjunction with the North Dakota Department of Health Children’s Special Health Services. The next clinics are scheduled for March 5 and April 2. Clinics involve the coordination of many professionals including a pediatrician, otolaryngologist, plastic surgeon, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, dentist, orthodontist, prosthodontist, social worker, psychologist, nurse, and clinic coordinator. A child born with a cleft can have hearing, speech, surgical, feeding, and esteem needs best treated by a team of professionals who specialize in this area. Families return to clinic on a regular basis until their child is 18. The clinic chair is Kimberly Hrudy, who can be contacted at