After discovering people on YouTube talking about their experiences of growing up with a cleft, Bronwen was inspired to set up her own channel. In talking about a range of topics, from surgery to dealing with stares and questions, she hopes to raise awareness of cleft and ensure others born with a cleft feel less alone.
I’m 18 and I was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. I’ve had six cleft related surgeries so far and I’m hoping to be having my final surgery at some point this year. My cleft wasn’t really something I started to acknowledge until I entered my teens. At first I found it difficult to talk about and I felt quite alone. However, I knew it couldn’t just be me who looked the way I did and so I decided to start searching for others with a cleft online. I came across a few videos on YouTube of people telling their story and I already began to feel less isolated. Every video I found made me more excited.
After I’d watched just about every cleft story I could find on YouTube, I decided that maybe I should share my story too. I was 15 at the time and very nervous because I had never really spoken about my cleft much to my friends and family let alone to the world on YouTube! But I did it anyway because I wanted other people to see my story and feel like I did when I realised I wasn’t alone.
My first video had a great response and I was so pleased to see that just by talking about my experiences I had been able to help people. Originally I had only planned to upload one video but I realised that there were so many experiences that come with having a cleft that I wanted to share. This was when I decided that I wanted my channel to be a place where people could follow my cleft journey and hopefully feel less alone. I also really wanted to raise awareness of the condition because I feel that it is the lack of understanding that causes people to judge.
This was when I decided that I wanted my channel to be a place where people could follow my cleft journey and hopefully feel less alone. I also really wanted to raise awareness of the condition because I feel that it is the lack of understanding that causes people to judge.
I now make videos on a range of different topics such as surgery, dealing with stares and my own personal journey of living with a visible difference. My channel is for anyone who may be going through something similar or who even just wants an insight into what it is like to live with a cleft lip and palate. My goal is to help as many people as I can to see that they are not alone and that differences should be celebrated!
My advice to people born with a cleft would be to embrace your uniqueness and not let it hold you back. Starting my channel was one of the scariest things I have ever done but it is definitely something I do not regret! Be yourself and if there is something you want to do… just go for it!
My advice to people born with a cleft would be to embrace your uniqueness and not let it hold you back.
Thank you for sharing your story, Bronwen! To visit her YouTube Channel, click here.