Thousands of students to run Operation Smile Final Mile

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by Joe Flanagan, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 8:21 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH--It's a big weekend in Virginia Beach, with thousands of athletes running the Shamrock Marathon.  

On Saturday, many people will also be focusing on the Operation Smile Final Mile, including 8-year-old Rafaela Mateo from the Dominican Republic, who will be there with her mother.

Rafaela needs surgery to repair damage caused by a disease called noma, which is prevalent in countries where there is widespread malnutrition.

"She's a little nervous. Well you can kind of tell.  She's nervous about the surgery but she's excited to be here. She's nervous about them cutting her skull," said Yolanda Weaver, an Operation Smile Interpreter.

Rafaela and her mother visited Three Oaks Elementary School in Virginia Beach.   Students there will join nearly 5,000 others, who will be running Saturday at 11 a.m.

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