Skip to main content

Kupchella treks to Peru for Smile Network

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Photo: Rick Kupchella at Machu Picchu in Peru in 2006

I'm embarking upon an all-out adventure next week. My daughter, Elizabeth, and I are hiking the Inca Trail in Peru as part of a program with Smile Network International.

In short, “Smile” is a Minnesota-based humanitarian organization dedicated to the repair of cleft lips and palates of children in developing countries around the globe. In the last nine years, we’ve conducted 50 missions at 24 surgical sites around the world, performing surgeries on 2,500 children.

The trek will literally retrace the steps of the Incas over four days at elevations from 7,000 to nearly 14,000 feet. It ultimately concludes at the Gate of the Sun and onto the sacred grounds of Machu Picchu. It will be a spectacular – arduous – and transformative experience.

In the last couple days of our trip, we'll join the medical team in Lima as they begin the process of screening children at the primary children’s hospital in Peru to see the results of our effort in person. We'll witness and experience the life-changing surgeries.

Last year, I took on the role of Chairman of the Board at Smile Network International. I’ve long admired this group both for what they do and how they do it.

The principal work, of course, is the medical relief effort itself. With these surgeries (costing about $500, and accomplished in little more than 45 minutes) they change the life of a child forever. That’s a simple and profound fact.

Smile also has a tradition of offering its donors and medical teams signature experiences in faraway and exotic locations, in an effort to connect the public with its mission. In Peru – it’s the Inca Trail. In Tanzania – it’s Kilimanjaro. We have also done custom trips in Ecuador (horseback riding in the Ecuadorian Highlands), Mexico (bike riding in the Badlands), and treks to the Himalayan Mountains.

As a participant in this particular mission, I'm reaching out to my own network – explaining the work of Smile Network and encouraging folks to donate in honor of our trek, with all the donations going toward the mission. It is not uncommon for our Adventure Travel participants to raise 100 percent of the money for the adjacent medical mission. One hundred percent of all donations pay for the surgeries of the children. And here's where I need your help.

Elizabeth and I are trying to raise $5,000 for Smile Network International – by Monday! God help us! And YOU TOO if you can?!

And hey, while we recognize this is not something every person has the time or money to participate in – for those who can find a way to plan for it, keep an eye on Smile Network for future destinations. It promises to be the trip of a lifetime.

Smile Network and I thank you sincerely for considering a donation.

Check out more: Kupchella Smiles 2013 and Smile Network.

-rk

P.S. Stay tuned to BringMeTheNews for updates. I'll be filing from the trek (may be time delayed depending on connectivity) but I plan to publish a daily log and send photos of kids from the mission at Lima.

Next Up

Airport traveler flying pixabay

Man who had meth, guns in checked luggage at MSP Airport gets 10 years

Kevin Alan Aguilar-Moreno, 21, attempted to board a Delta flight to Phoenix in October of last year.

Screen Shot 2022-08-08 at 7.13.33 AM

Family identifies man killed by police in Otsego

The 21-year-old was reportedly experiencing 'mental health challenges' and allegedly had a knife when deputies opened fire.

88 S 11th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota - April 2022 (1)

Gun found on WCCO-TV rooftop after homicide in Minneapolis

It's the 56th death reported as a homicide in Minneapolis this year.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.

ATV

Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Related