Finding out I was pregnant in 2008 was one of the greatest moments of my life...until after the first ultrasound, when the doctor told me, "There may be a problem." Those are the scariest words any expecting mother can hear.
My son, Gabriel, was born with a complete unilateral cleft lip and palate. Basically, he had an opening from just under his right nostril that extended all the way through his soft palate. This type of impairment effects much more than the lip and palate. It effects speech, hearing, dental, sinuses and the child's overall development. Although cleft lip/palate is not as serious as say, a heart condition, it is still a very, very serious medical impairment. Gabriel has had several surgeries already; he will have to have a minimum of two more.
The amazing cleft team at our local Children's Hospital has enabled my son to look and speak the way he does today. I do not know how my family could have handled all the issues that come with having a child with medical impairments without them.
My hero is Gabriel, always Gabriel. He is now 4 1/2 years old. He has been through numerous surgeries. He has had to have both speech and occupational services. Gabriel has had to experience things related to his cleft lip/palate that I would not wish on any person.
Yet, Gabriel is always happy. He is kind and gentle. He is protective of others. He loves dinosaurs and trucks. Although his speech is difficult to understand, he conveys more meaning through a smile and nod than I could through a speech.
Gabriel is strong and courageous. He accepts surgeries, doctor's visits... all of it is just part of his life. He does what he has to do and moves on. He does not worry over the things he has had to face or the future surgeries. He is my inspiration and my hero.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories