Local mum sets up event to raise awareness of cleft lip

Those who took part in the Fancy Dress 5k.
Those who took part in the Fancy Dress 5k.

This is Cleft Lip and Palate Awareness Week and one local mum organised a special event to raise funds and awareness last Saturday.

Chrismarann Maclennan’s daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate in 2007. To raises awareness of the condition, she organised a fancy dress 5k around Lews Castle Grounds on Saturday.

She explained: “A cleft lip or cleft palate, which can also occur together, are caused by abnormal facial development during gestation. A cleft is a fissure or opening - a gap. Approximately one in 700 children have a cleft lip or palate or both. Some people refer to it as harelip, but that term is now considered as offensive.

“Cleft lip and palate is very treatable and is normally operated on just a few months after birth but, depending on the type and severity of it, care can be lifelong. As a mother of a child born with a cleft, I thought it would be a good idea to raise awareness for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association as a lot of people even today have never heard of it.

“I was not aware of the condition until my own daughter was born with both a cleft lip and palate in 2007. I remember holding my beautiful baby girl for the first time and thinking it was my fault she was born with this and that I had done something wrong during my pregnancy but there is still no known cause for it. She had to drink her milk out of bottles that are specially made for babies with clefts and sometimes milk would come out of her nose but apart from that she was a perfectly normal healthy baby.

“She got her lip repaired at six months old at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow and her palate was repaired shortly after. Both operations were a great success and the cleft team at Yorkhill were fantastic.

“My daughter is now nearly eight years old and continues to see the cleft team at Yorkhill and the dentist regularly so they can monitor her progress. She will be having her bone graft done in the next year or two. She does have problems with her hearing but has grommets in her ears to help her hear better.

“We are very lucky that the operations our daughter has had so far have been straightforward and there were no difficulties post-operations. However, there are some who are not as lucky and some can have other problems related to the cleft - such as speech.

“Having a baby born with a cleft lip and palate can be an upsetting and worrying time for parents, with problems such as feeding and also seeing your child having to go through operations. However, we are very fortunate in this country that it can be treated at an early age, usually with just one or two operations.”

Visit www.clapa.com or to support Chrismarann’s fundraising see her Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/smarann-Maclennan1/