Comfort Baskets for Cleft Courage

Alexis GiannattasioCommunity Stories, Family Stories

“My name is Justin Miller, and I am 12 years old. I am starting a fundraising project to help newborn babies with cleft lip and/or palate. I am inspired to do this because my sister did a similar fundraiser in my honor and I was so touched by the project. My family has been through the challenges that many other families are about to go through, and I want to help. We know that it is difficult to cover all expenses of doctors, surgery, dental gear, and other necessary items. That is why I want to help.”

My son, Justin, was born with cleft lip and palate. At 12 years old, he told us he wanted to give back to other families who had children with a cleft, just like him. My husband and I created a GoFundMe and shared it on Facebook to help Justin raise funds for comfort basket items, including ACPA Cleft Courage Bears. We raised a total of $1,500. Through the fundraiser, Justin created 15 comfort baskets for children and families, which he proudly delivered to NYU’s cleft team. I even had the opportunity to personally deliver two baskets to parents of newborn babies; what an incredible experience! As a family, we hope the baskets my children donated serve as a source of comfort for families and help them realize they are not alone.

I found out about Justin’s cleft during my 20-week sonogram and interviewed and picked out NYU as our cleft team before his birth. We feel confident that he is receiving excellent care there, and we are very happy with the results we have seen. The incredible resources that ACPA provides also helped us remarkably. It was invaluable to have so much information accessible to us during that difficult time.

I want to reassure new parents that things are going to be okay. I want parents to see that Justin has grown into a wonderful, caring person, and that while his cleft has been part of his story, it has only served to make him stronger and more caring.