Spreading Cleft Courage at the Clinic

Alexis GiannattasioFamily Stories

Isabella was born with a unilateral cleft lip and incomplete alveolar ridge. After Isabella’s first surgery at seven months old, I saw the ACPA cleft bears and absolutely loved the idea of having a bear to take into future surgeries. Our good friend bought Isabella her very first ACPA bear, and now she also has one of the ACPA Cleft Courage Bears that were introduced earlier this year.

Our family began donating APCA bears to the Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic in Columbia, Missouri in June of 2009 to give to new patients. Isabella would take a box of bears to her team visit every year.  She knows how scary surgery can be, and she wants other kids to be comforted by a fuzzy friend who looks like them, just like she was. We have been blessed to be able to donate bears 6 times.

We have been told that the APCA bears are given to the new cleft lip and palate babies that are seen.  They are told that it is an APCA bear and is a gift from Isabella (another patient with cleft) who wants them to have a friend to share their cleft experience with. The parents love the idea and many of the patients bring their bear to each operation.  When we were at surgery clinic this year, one of the new ACPA Cleft Courage Bears was donated to a young lady that graduated clinic and wanted to continue her education to become a nurse, just like our team’s nurse.

We hope that the ACPA Cleft Courage Bears we donate provide comfort to families as they go through their journeys and give an extra dose of courage to these patients who are already so brave and beautiful.

Thank you again, ACPA, for making these adorable bears available so that we can share them and support the cleft and craniofacial community in our area.