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news News Thursday, July 26, 2018 Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:34 PM - Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:34 PM

Patient and golfer gets PGA experiences thanks to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago

Patient and golfer gets PGA experiences thanks to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago

Connor smilingCleft lip and palate is a complex condition that requires a team of specialists to help children live healthy lives. Connor, a patient from suburban Chicago, came to the multidisciplinary cleft lip and palate team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago as a baby. His parents had no idea their son had a bi-lateral cleft palate until after Connor was born. The 12-year-old spent his early years receiving care and had multiple surgeries at the Chicago Shriners Hospital to repair his cleft lip, palate, gum line, teeth and ear tubes.

In his spare time he enjoys golf. His family actually hosts a charity tournament each year to help our hospital provide cleft palate care and services that other children need.

We're happy to announce that Shriners Hospitals for Children is giving Connor two special golf experiences of his own this year! With your help, he will have the opportunity to attend two PGA TOUR events with VIP treatment.

In July, Connor attended Youth Day at the John Deere Classic, a PGA tournament held annually in the Quad Cities region. Thanks to the generosity of the PGA TOUR and tournament staff, Connor was able to go "inside the ropes" with golfer Brice Garnett. “It was an incredible day. We got to walk alongside Brice on the 18th hole practice round. He gave Connor the opportunity to chip and putt on the 18th green in front of the grandstands. After that Brice spent an hour and a half with him at the driving range with all the golfers there,” Kelly, Connor’s mom, said. (Watch a video of their experience created by the PGA TOUR.) Connor’s many smiles on the golf course that day are thanks to the plastic and ENT surgeons who have repaired his bilateral cleft lip and palate and helped his hearing. Other specialists on the team include speech therapists, audiologists, psychologists, nurses and social work care managers. At the Chicago Shriners Hospital, Connor's parents learned to feed their baby with a syringe. Staff members provided the family strength for his first surgery when he was 2 months old, and for the additional surgeries he has had and may need before age 21.

Kelly said her seventh-grader sometimes deals with comments from other kids about why his face or nose looks a little different. “The cleft does impact his facial development,” said Plastic Surgeon Pravin Patel, M.D. He has performed several surgeries on Connor. “The goal of cleft surgery is to restore what would have been in a child’s facial appearance and function. Surgeons and the team have to time their treatments with a child’s growth and development.”

Kelly said the opportunity to attend special events on behalf of the hospital makes it easier for Connor to say "yes" to future surgeries. ”No kid is excited to go into surgery. When he gets to go to these events it makes him feel appreciative of what the hospital does. It increases his trust and confidence when he goes into his next appointments.”

Fundraise FORE Love

Connor has gone through so much, and gives back to help other patients. Now you can help Connor enjoy a special trip of a lifetime to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas this fall!

Connor will be the Chicago Shriners Hospital standard bearer at the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, an official PGA TOUR event. He will have the opportunity to join a patient from every Shriners Hospitals for Children, walking the course with players and participating in special events to help people learn about the care and services we offer. To help fund his trip to the event in October, please visit Connor’s fundraising site.

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