AboutFace has declared September as National Facial Differences Awareness Month! This year, they are focusing on cleft lip and palate.

The TF team participating in AboutFace’s Blue Day for Facial Difference Awareness! From L to R: Sylvia Guerron, Office Assistant, Esteban Lasso, Executive Director, Laura Lewis-Watts, Program Manager and Debbie Silva, Communications Coordinator.

Cleft lip and palate, a congenital condition that happens in the first three months of pregnancy which affects the upper lip and the hard and soft palate of the mouth, is one of the most common birth anomalies in the world. Approximately one in every 700 babies is born with a cleft in North America. Despite extensive research about cleft lip and palate, its’ causes are still unknown.

Children born with cleft lip and palate need the help of a multidisciplinary medical team to treat problems associated with clefts that may develop. The condition affects a child’s appearance, speech, teeth, eating, hearing and ability to develop socially.

In the developed world, the vast majority of children born with cleft lip and palate are treated successfully and lead normal lives. But millions of children and adults in developing countries suffer with unrepaired clefts. Many are abandoned shortly after birth or kept hidden away from society. Most find it difficult to attend school, communicate easily, find jobs or get married.

The good news is that cleft lip and palate can be successfully treated by a combination of surgery and rehabilitation. Transforming Faces believes that no child should be left without the treatment and support of skilled and caring cleft teams, and we work diligently to make that happen. We advocate for comprehensive cleft care, which means quality reconstructive surgery, as well as ongoing rehabilitation.

Across Canada, AboutFace is encouraging families, friends, volunteers and healthcare  to raise awareness about Facial Differences. AboutFace is a Canadian-based charity that provides emotional, peer and social support, resources and educational programs to individuals with facial disfigurements and their families. For more on their campaign, click here

Help us spread the word about National Facial Differences Awareness Month & raise awareness about cleft lip and palate! Share this page with your friends, wear blue on Sept. 14, host a fundraiser, tell your story,  join one of AboutFace’s events or attend our Salsa for Smiles event!