Virginia Recognizes July as Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

Elizabeth Earley - (757) 668-9049 or Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org
2019-07-01

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – For the first time, Virginia will recognize July as Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month.

The month has long been recognized by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, and Virginia legislators followed suit by designating July as awareness month earlier this year.

CHKD’s Craniofacial Center, which is accredited by the ACPA, will celebrate the month with fun activity books and awareness bracelets for children. Officials and advocates of the center reached out to legislators for the statewide designation to raise awareness for the need for comprehensive, integrated medical care, counseling support, speech therapy, and dental and orthodontic care of patients with cleft and craniofacial conditions.

The center also wants to salute patients like Paige Rooney, 12, of Virginia Beach, who is a veteran of five surgeries at CHKD for a cleft lip and palate. She’s not complaining, in fact she celebrates it, because she feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to have corrective surgeries.

Paige was only 19 days old when she had her first surgery at CHKD to correct the birth defect, and her most recent surgery was a year ago. When she was younger, “No one understood why I looked the way I did, and why I have scars on my face.” She thinks more awareness about these conditions will give people more compassion when they see others who look a little different.

She now raises money for a longtime CHKD partner, Operation Smile, a Virginia Beach-based nonprofit organization that performs cleft lip and palate surgeries for children across the globe.

News Releases_Ronney 1   News Releases_Rooney 2

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region.