Tyler was born in 2002 with a bilateral cleft lip & cleft palate. We didn’t know there was an issue until he was born! He was our first child. Besides the cleft, Tyler was perfectly healthy.

“He was taken to Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, NY where they have an ACPA Approved Cleft and Craniofacial Team. It’s about an hour from our home. We had no clue how familiar we would become with the drive, the surgeons, and the staff. Tyler had his first surgery at 7 months old to begin lip repair – such a terrifying time for a parent. We had lots of love & support from family and friends. After the first surgery, it seemed like Tyler’s little life consisted of surgery, recovery, surgery – repeat for 19 years.

“In February, Tyler had the last ‘big’ surgery to literally build his upper jaw. We traveled to Manhattan, where Tyler had surgery with another ACPA Approved Team at NYU. As of today, Tyler is healing amazingly, and now we move on to permanent teeth implants next year with minor surgeries in between.

“It’s been a journey for the whole family, and Tyler has had bouts of depression. We take every day one at a time. Tyler is my hero, the bravest boy I know.”

-Catherine, Tyler’s Mom