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Kara's story

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July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month. The following is a reflection from a Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston parent whose daughter was born with cleft lip and palate.

By Ethel Dow, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston parent 

Kara Nelson at birth, before surgeryI was 34 weeks pregnant when doctors told me there was a possibility my baby would be born with both cleft lip and palate. This news came as huge shock. The condition does not run on either side of the family and my older daughter was not born with either cleft lip or palate. A few weeks later, beautiful Kara was born and the doctors’ concerns were confirmed.

Kara’s father and I found Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston through an acquaintance in our town whose children had seen Dr. Lewis. I made an appointment, had a consultation and left our first visit feeling completely comfortable placing my daughter’s care in his hands.

Kara Nelson after cleft lip and palate surgeryThat was just the beginning of Kara’s journey. We have been going to the Boston Shriners Hospital since Kara was six weeks old. Today she is a happy, healthy nine-year-old. We have a great love for all the staff, all the nurses in the clinic and on the recovery floor, and Susie the medical photographer. The nurses who have cared for Kara take care of her like she is their own daughter. As a mom, I cannot thank them enough.

Kara’s journey at Shriners Hospital has also brought new friends. She became best of friends with one of her “roommates,” keeping in touch often.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston is a special place, not just because of the great care Kara has received, but because of the tremendous support we have all received.