Kicking for Clefts

Alexis GiannattasioCommunity Stories, Family Stories, Teen

They say that a bond between two brothers is unbreakable and for brothers Grayson and Jack, that holds true. Like many siblings, Grayson and Jack spent countless days of their childhood together playing outdoors and “wrestling” in the name of love, but unlike many other siblings, Grayson also walked with his brother through numerous surgeries related to Jack’s cleft lip and palate. Now that both brothers are well into their teenage years, Grayson wanted to find a way to not only honor his brother, but also help provide other children with the same quality of team care that Jack had.

Growing up with a facial difference wasn’t always easy for Jack, but with the help of his family, a supportive community, an ACPA Approved Team and a positive outlook, he never let his circumstances get in the way. With his parents and older brother by his side, Jack continued to play lead roles in school musical performances, and he even followed in his brother’s footsteps by playing soccer and place kicking for his football team – all the while undergoing surgeries and speech therapy. To Grayson, Jack is a hero.

As Grayson’s senior year of high school approached and his last season of football began, he knew he wanted to use his talent to help others, especially people like Jack. Being a loving big brother and a kicker on his football team, Grayson put the two together and started “Kicking for Clefts.” During each game of the season, people in the community of West Point, Mississippi made pledges to contribute to ACPA every time Grayson’s kicks put points on the board for Oak Hill Academy. For every extra point, field goal, touchback, and fifty-yard punt, supporters made a donation to ACPA because of the way the organization helped Jack and so many others like him.

After the season ended, word about the fundraiser and cleft awareness continued to spread like wildfire across West Point. In hopes of giving other interested community members a chance to participate, Grayson’s family shared “Kicking for Clefts” on Facebook, where the community continued to pour out their support for Jack and other people with cleft lip and palate. The efforts of Grayson and his family resulted in more than $3,000 for ACPA, and a community impacted for the better.

As Grayson prepares for college, he is able to look back and see the difference he and his family made in his hometown through “Kicking for Clefts.”

“Jack has always been the one to do me favors when I asked, so I wanted to leave a concrete mark of my love and appreciation of him,” Grayson said.