(Pictured: Rotarian Michelle Lewis, Nataly, and Rotarian Darlene Scott)

Familiar faces and appreciative families were waiting for us in the reception room as we arrived at the hospital yesterday morning. Some of us were even greeted by surprise hugs from the children. What a pleasant way to start a day. Heartwarming since we know that today is their surgery day, a day that will change forever the trajectory of their lives. One mother named Erika shared that she kept hearing an ad on the local radio about Rotaplast. When she spoke to her family about bringing Nataly everyone was so very supportive. Nataly has severe speech issues due to her cleft palate anomaly. After speaking to Speech Pathologist Karen Poland, she shared that because a cleft of the palate makes many sounds difficult, children often adapt by learning to make speech sounds differently. Additionally, because there is no separation between a child’s mouth and nasal cavity, their speech is nasalized (comes out their nose), which can make communication increasingly difficult. With corrective surgery and therapy children have the opportunity for more understandable speech. We will continue to remain hopeful for Nataly as she left the hospital smiling today and shared with us that she was pain-free. Such remarkable and hopeful news.

Natalie with Rotarian Andrew Johanson