Help raise money for kids who can't afford life-saving cleft surgery

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A charity run by kids, for kids, is making Chicago proud.

Side by Side Smiles, which makes and sells charm bracelets, has raised more than $27,000 for children in need of cleft surgeries since its January 2017 launch.

Thousands of children around the world are affected by cleft lips or cleft palates. According to the Side By Side Smiles website, 93 percent of those children who do not get surgery will die before their 20th birthday.

Co-founders and best friends, Sanjana Gangadharan and Nandini Arakoni, started this organization to raise money to sponsor kids who need these procedures.

They're now planning a toy drive for kids with special needs just ahead of the holidays.

Gangadharan and Arakoni joined ABC7 News at 11 to talk about their goals and aspirations for their organization, why this new project means so much to them and how the public can support their effort.

To find out more about Side by Side Smiles, make a donation or buy a charm bracelet, visit
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