June has been a fighter since the very beginning. At our first ultrasound, we found out June had cystic hygroma and other high-risk markers. We were having regular ultrasounds and appointments with maternal fetal medicine when we found out she had a bilateral cleft lip (around 24 weeks). They were unable to determine if her palate was also clefted, but we all moved forward assuming it would be.

We were referred to the ACPA Approved Team at Johns Hopkins while I was still pregnant. The most helpful thing we experienced was meeting with the care team before June was born. It gave us so much hope and much needed clarity. The team was able to ease a lot of our fears and map out a rough plan for her surgeries based on what we knew at the time. It can feel very overwhelming and scary at first and we were very fortunate to be able to research feeding systems and plan for her first surgery around 3 months.  When she was born, she had worked through all her other health issues in utero and only had a bilateral cleft lip and a complete cleft palate.

The cleft community has been so supportive and loving from the very beginning when a member of the John Hopkins Team came to the hospital on her weekend off to see June in the NICU and help us with her first bottle feedings. We relocated to North Carolina when June was 4 years old and have been seeing the ACPA Approved Team at Duke since then. The road hasn’t always been easy but through the care at Johns Hopkins and Duke we have been able to navigate every surgery and step along the way with confidence knowing she was getting the best possible care from providers that are passionate about their work.

Currently, our biggest focus areas are speech (she sees a speech therapist 3 days a week) and preparing for upcoming orthodontics. June is now 8 and in 2nd grade and thriving! She is a natural born caregiver, the best helper, kind, and silly. June loves soccer, tennis, making bracelets, and is a big Taylor Swift fan. June is a proud big sister to one brother, Ethan. She loves animals – especially our family dog, Gus.

Leah (June’s mom)