“You know what they have been through, you know how much it can hurt, and I really think loss of the feeling that you are alone is the first step towards feeling better about yourself.”
Danielle, young adult with a cleft lip and palate
Awareness Week 2018 has come to a close, with hundreds of stories shared, events, fundraisers and collections having taken place all over the UK, and thousands of people reached.
Join us as we look back at some of the week’s highlights, and look at how we’ll keep the momentum going right through until our 40th anniversary next year.
Launch day saw over half a million people reached on social media through our Thunderclap linking to our Awareness Week hub, and over 2,000 of you added our Twibbon to their profile.
Our long-time Patron Carol Vorderman also shared her reasons for supporting CLAPA.
As proud #Patron of @CLAPACOMMUNITY for nearly 20 yrs, I want to bring #CleftAwarenessWeek to yr attention. See how amazing these little babies are. My brother had severe cleft, 24 ops.Major society issues back in 60s & 70s. Today we need to be more enlightened x https://t.co/XMJaEoLc82
— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) May 8, 2018
The week kicked off with a number of events around the UK on Saturday, including a summer picnic by Great Ormond Street Hospital, a collection at Birmingham New Street Station, and an adults focus group in our London office to look at our Adult Services Project.
If out and about in the station today, we have the @CLAPACOMMUNITY who are in the Atrium raising awareness of Cleft Lip and Palate week starting 5th-13th May. They do amazing work to improve the lives of people born with cleft and their families ? ^RW pic.twitter.com/fLsxIQv384
— Birmingham New Street (@NetworkRailBHM) May 5, 2018
From assemblies to bake sales, we were thrilled at how many of you used this week as a chance to spread the word and talk to people in your life about what cleft means to you.
And the bake sale has began! ☺️☺️ pic.twitter.com/jkX73aoMrT
— Moss ?? (@ohsostrange1997) May 10, 2018
— Nant Y Parc Primary (@NantYParcSchool) May 11, 2018
Our own Shannon Terry organised a charity Bingo night at our Clubhouse on 4/5/18 to raise money for @CLAPACOMMUNITY . A great night & Shannon raised £200 for CLAPA. Well done Shannon for organising such a great evening and thanks to everyone who came along and donated pic.twitter.com/ADTkiNYMEA
— RochfordTownSports (@RochfordTownFC) May 6, 2018
Thanks again to our group of adults who came along to @CLAPACOMMUNITY in London last Saturday for our #CleftAware event and to take a sneak peek at the upcoming Adults Survey! pic.twitter.com/zAd71WGxbl
— Kenny Ardouin (@kennyardouin) May 11, 2018
At the heart of Cleft Lip and Palate Awareness Week are the stories of the people in our community. At CLAPA we believe that every smile tells a story. From expectant parents dealing with a diagnosis to adults struggling to get the care they need, we believe that these stories and the people in them should shape everything we do.
Cleft lip and palate has a wide range of causes, issues and outcomes. No two families will be affected in the same way. The journey through treatment and beyond isn’t easy, but we believe that with the right help and support, everyone affected by cleft can smile inside and out.
This week, we’ve loved seeing so many of you sharing your stories. Here are a few of our favourites:
As it’s cleft awareness week 2018 I’m sharing a 3 part comic about our recent experiences as parents with the long anticipated bone graft surgery. It starts just before the surgery begins (1/4) #CLeftAware #mycleftstory #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/wXuJ4aylvu
— Andrew Fraser (@cartoonsidrew) May 10, 2018
— Diamond Express (@diamondex1996) May 6, 2018
https://t.co/Kn3pb72OWc New Video to raise awareness for cleft lip and palate, Thank you @CLAPACOMMUNITY @TrentCleftLP @NHSEngland @DuncanBannatyne @OpSmileUK @carolvorders @RichardHawley and everyone who supports and raises awareness for clefts #NewSmile #CleftlipandAwarnessWeek
— The Donny Shaw Show (@DonnyShawShow) May 4, 2018
I’ve shared a very personal story about my sons individual cleft journey to help raise awareness. If it helps one more person to understand or helps one person to capture their own emotions then I feel happy!… https://t.co/CEIDiXKgTa
— Mumcomms.blog (@mumcommsblog) May 5, 2018
Handing our baby over to the theatre staff was the hardest thing ever. She was 7 months old. We should be there to protect her. At the time she needed us most we couldn’t help her. All we could do as parents was sit and wait. @CLAPACOMMUNITY @CleftTeamWales @ClapaSouthWales https://t.co/9u8U86bTQf
— annie clothier (@annie_clothier) May 8, 2018
It’s #cleftawarenessweek! The journey between being born with #cleftlip #cleftpalate & now can be difficult. Yes, there is alot of surgery, speech therapy & dental work but thanks to the awesome team but it it was all worth it!Just look at me now @CLAPACOMMUNITY. Be #Cleftaware pic.twitter.com/ZdHGRP4erm
— Sarah Jones (@saze72) May 7, 2018
We were also thrilled to be able to reach a wider audience through raidio interviews and features, as well as newspaper articles.
Thank you so much to everyone brave enough to share their stories – not only are you helping us make sure no one has to go through their cleft journey alone, but you’re putting a real face on an issue that affects 1,200 new families each year. Thank you for helping us make so many people #cleftaware!
— CLAPA Community (@CLAPACOMMUNITY) May 11, 2018
Sunday 13th May was our London Sponsored Walk and Sports Day in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We loved seeing so many people from our community enjoying a fun day out together, and we’d like to thank everyone for all the hard work they did fundraising.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s Awareness Week as much as we have! If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch.
Awareness Week inspires hundreds of you each year to share your stories and celebrate what makes your families unique. We’re delighted that being involved with CLAPA has helped you find a community, and that through your support we’re able to help thousands of families each year across the UK.
Awareness Week 2018 may be over – but CLAPA needs your support all year round.
2019 will be CLAPA’s 40th anniversary. We’ve come a long way from a handful of dedicated volunteers sending out typewritten newsletters each month, but as we’ve worked to improve our services and reach more people in need, demand has skyrocketed. We need your help to keep up with this demand and make sure we never have to cut back on our vital services.
Please – help us be there for every family that needs us in 2019 and onwards.
Can’t see the donation box above? Visit CLAPA’s Just Giving site to make a donation.
Can You Help Us Make Double the Difference?
Our friends at the Four Acre Trust have given us a fantastic opportunity to double our donations from new CLAPA supporters. From now until the end of September, the Four Acre Trust will double donations of £500 to £10,000. That means a donation to CLAPA of £10,000 could be doubled to £20,000 for free!
For a small charity like CLAPA this kind of funding boost can make a huge difference. Can you help us make a difference that lasts for years to come?