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MN man longboards from Duluth to Mpls. to help kids born with cleft palate

A Minnesota man will spend the weekend longboarding from Duluth to Minneapolis to raise money for kids born with a cleft lip or palate.

That’s a condition where infants are born with openings or splits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth or both, according to Mayo Clinic.

It also happens to be one of the most common birth defects.

Joseph Bullen, 41, of Milaca told the Duluth News Tribune that he had been born with a cleft lip and palate.


“Knowing the ridicule that an individual faces and the stigma of a deformity. It can be so easily fixed and repaired,” Bullen told the paper.

That’s why Bullen is making the 158 mile journey on his longboard, and taking donations along the way.

He’s been live-broadcasting parts of his journey on Facebook. And in one video, he explains that a $500 procedure that takes less than an hour can change a life forever.

“I think we’re all entitled to smile,” Bullen says.


So far, he’s been right on track with his daily travel goals:

Friday: From Duluth to Moose Lake.

Saturday: From Moose Lake, through Hinkley to Forest Lake.

Sunday: From Forest Lake to the Smile Network International office in Minneapolis.

When he makes it to the Minneapolis office, Bullen says he hopes friends, family and supporters will be there “to welcome me in and possibly help me to my car because I may not be able to walk.”

According to Bullen’s fundraising page, he hopes to raise $10,000 to help 20 people get the surgeries they need.

The funds raised will go to Smile Network International – a non-profit that provides those “life-altering surgeries” to impoverished children and adults.

As of Saturday afternoon, Bullen has raised more than $200. To donate to the cause, click here.

Donations can also be made on the Smile Network International website. Just be sure to note Bullen’s name before finishing up your donation.



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