From Patient to Provider: Paul’s Journey

Alyssa KirkmanAdult, Family Stories

“To all who currently have a craniofacial anomaly or are a loved one of such an individual, I would like to share my story. I was born with a unilateral right complete cleft lip and palate. Through the excellent care I received from the team at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital’s Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Institute, I feel that most of the general population would not even realize that I was born with a cleft lip and palate.

This team has changed my life for the better and I will be forever grateful. I am proud to have volunteered for the team at St. Louis Children’s and hope to someday become a dental care professional who cares for kids born with a craniofacial anomaly. I was accepted into dental school and have been in school for three years to strive towards my dream.

Currently I do research on craniofacial care – which has been a dream come true – with Dr. Manish Valiathan DDS MSD, the craniofacial orthodontist on the ACPA Approved Team at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland Ohio. I was honored to not only present my research at ACPA’s 74th Annual Meeting but also to be accepted to present at ACPA’s 75th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh in early April.

I wish you all the best and hope this message can give hope to you all that anyone with a craniofacial anomaly can have a fulfilling, successful, and happy life and strive to accomplish their dreams too! If you have any questions or would like to talk about my experience, please reach out to ACPA.”

– Paul Bigg, ACPA Member