Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Masks For All: Functional, Accessible, and Fun

Editor's Note: Previous blog posts about accessible masks for people in the craniofacial community can be found here and here. I hope this information is helpful in finding the right fit for you.

Masks are now a part of our lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts say they could be here to stay through mid-2022.  In addition to keeping us safe from COVID-19, they also reduce transmission of the flu, too. For those in the craniofacial community, masks could be an effective tool for those of us that are medically complex and need that extra layer of protection. Unfortunately, masks are not one size fits all. Accessibility and comfort for those with craniofacial conditions varies from body to body. What are we to do? 

After weeks of crowdsourcing, purchasing, and testing, I have some answers that will benefit us. This writer will go to the ends of the Earth to find a mask that is the least disruptive to my compromised cabeza, and that avoids my tiny ears complete with tiny hearing aids. 

Mandala Scrubs Masks

Leader in the clubhouse for me has been Mandala Scrubs Adjustable Head Loop Mask. Light weight, comfortable, and easily comes on and off the head. It avoids anchoring on the neck and the ears which allows me to comfortably keep my hearing aids in place, and wear my now signature, big, fancy earrings again. The fit is the best yet, with an adjustable nose ridge to create a solid seal that doesn’t push the air out and up into my glasses. Masks come in adult and child/petite sizes. The best fit for me is the petite. The mask does not yank on my ears and pull my arthritic jaw forwards and down. They have a PM2.5 filter pocket, too. Wonderful stuff and worth every cent of the $9.99. Another company that does this style of mask well is Proper Cloth. They have multiple size options, but are a bit on the pricey side at $25. You do get what you pay for, and the quality appears exceptional. Thank you to a designer friend who shared these modern stylish masks with me. 

Proper Cloth Mask

In second place, the Athleta Activate masks. Yes, these are of the ear loop variety, but we will forgive them for it, because each three pack comes with a black band with two hooks that you can wrap around the ear loops, and then place behind the head or in my case above my messy bun. I even played a full singles tennis match in these athletic masks and won!  Athleta masks come in adult and kids sizes. The fabric is spandex, yoga pants material. Very comfortable, and flexible. Buy a three-pack in the adult size for $30 or just $25 for the kids size. The site has 20% discounts galore. 
Athleta Mask with Band

After a frustratingly long week in the library (my day job) at the beginning of the month, I reached out to Facebook for that aforementioned crowdsourcing. People came out in droves after I told my tale of woe that cold night. Thank you to all who commented on that post. Sing it with me, you are the “wind beneath my wings.”
Direct from the hive mind, I share with you these great tips. First things first, this amazing contraption from Amazon takes the ears out of the equation completely. The mask extender is made of flexible plastic meant to be worn at the back of the head. You can purchase 5 of them for $7.99. These are great to have on hand if you have a medical appointment or a hospital visit. Many medical offices and hospitals require that you wear their mask while in the building. I keep one of these in my backpack at all times. 
Flexible Mask Extender

If you like headbands, grab one of these with two buttons to anchor the mask in place. They cost about $11. 
Headband with Button Anchor

The “sew awesome” among us may like this pattern developed by Scraptastic Patchwork. Former board member, and CCA Mom, Paula Guzzo, found this crafty couple for us. Scraptastic Patchwork shows us how to make accessible masks from upcycled fabric. People with beards, arthritis, craniofacial conditions, and more are rejoicing over their work. The two videos posted by Scraptastic Patchwork, and the patterns for these masks, can be found on Youtube. Click here and here to see their process and progress in creating masks for all bodies. This is universal design, folks!

I hope you enjoyed this post about mask options for all bodies. One of the above options should help alleviate the additional pressure on the head, neck, and ears that can be extraordinarily aggravating for those of us with a number of traumatic surgeries to the head, neck, and upper body under our belt. My hope is that you find one that feels best for you and your body

Best of luck. Stay safe, protect others, and spread compassion not germs!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Real Food Blends Announces Paula Guzzo As Brian Liebenow Award Winner

Editor's Note: In honor of Feeding Tube Awareness week, we are excited to share that Real Food Blends awarded former Board CCA Board Member and CCA Mom, Paula Guzzo, as the winner of the third annual Brian Liebenow Award. Real Food Blends will donate $500 in honor of Paula and the whole Guzzo clan. Thank you, Real Food Blends, and to the Guzzos for choosing CCA to be the recipient of the donated funds. Below is the text of the email message Real Blends sent to its email newsletter, and links to press release, video, links to the social media posts created by Real Food Blends about the award and celebration of this great family. 

For all those out there in our community that utilize feeding tubes, we see you, and celebrate raising awareness with you this week.

We're so proud to announce the recipient of our 3rd annual Brian Liebenow Award, which recognizes an extraordinary member of the feeding tube community each year during Feeding Tube Awareness Week. Paula Guzzo is a mom, wife, and dedicated advocate who has spent a lifetime working for families with special needs. She has been a supporter of real food for people with feeding tubes longer than almost anyone we know -- she's blended for her son, Scott, since the late 1980s and has used Real Food Blends for the past 5 years. She's also an incredible advocate for special needs education, turning her work to make sure Scott had the resources he needed in school to advocating for special needs families on a local, state, and national level. Learn more about Paula in the video above.

In addition to sharing Paula's story, we'll be celebrating Feeding Tube Awareness Week with daily posts on Facebook and Instagram about the power of real food for people with feeding tubes. Join in on the celebration by liking and sharing and help us spread the word that EVERYONE deserves easy access to real food!

Press Release http://www.prweb.com/releases/real_food_blends_announces_3rd_annual_brian_liebenow_award_recipient_to_kick_off_feeding_tube_awareness_week/prweb17713620.htm

Monday, February 1, 2021

My Vision For The World, and How You Can Help

By Christine Clinton

When I was growing up, I didn’t at first realize I was different in any way. I had countless doctor appointments, and countless surgical procedures; but I always thought that was the norm. I had to go to a special school the first five years of my life, because the school my sister was attending, decided they could not accept me as a student. The principal of the school that my sister was attending told my parents that, “if I accepted Christine into this school, I would have to accept other children like her.” I will admit, those words still sting to this day.

So, because of that principal’s decision, I went to a special school. My parents were persistent, though. When I was going into the fifth grade, they were able to fight to get me out of the special school, and mainstreamed into my sister’s school.

I was elated, because I felt like I was going to have a sense of normalcy. I thought that being around other children who didn’t have the same adversities and limitations that I did would help broaden my horizons, and eventually, add to my maturity and growth. Being in the fifth grade at my sister’s school was absolutely wonderful. Everyone absolutely loved me – from the other students in the class, to the teacher. I felt unconditionally accepted and loved. Nothing felt like it was fake or strained; it was just beautiful.

Unfortunately, due to not being properly taught in the special school, I had to be put back into the fourth grade to learn some things I’d missed along the way. The last day of my time in the fifth grade was a very tearful one, and I still remember to this day. I hated leaving the caring, accepting, compassionate class that was so full of gentleness, kindness, and unconditional love. While I don’t remember the names of every single person in that fifth-grade class, I will forever carry the memory of that special group very deep in my heart.

Going back into the fourth grade was starkly different than being in the fifth grade. The respect and dignity I experienced in the fifth grade evaporated instantly. As soon as I entered the fourth-grade room, I was bullied. One girl’s unwillingness to accept the way I looked on the outside, led her to tell everyone else in the class to avoid me. I only had two friends in the fourth-grade class: my best friend whom I have known for almost 34 ½ years, and my sister.

I was called every name under the sun; most I don’t want to repeat, but I urge all of you to never use the word “retard.” It is like a weapon that still cuts me when I hear it.

Those days at school were horrible and hurtful. No one should ever have to be subjected to that kind of cruelty or unkindness, no matter how they look. The bullying, unfortunately, didn’t stop once ignited. It seemed that nothing could overcome the raging fire that one girl started. Thus, the bullying continued all the way into the eighth grade.

Sadly, I was hopeful (or maybe foolish) to think that things would get better when I went into high school, but no; things were the same… if not worse. It seemed I could not escape the stigma she had put on me – a stigma that up until that point, I had not felt on myself.

It wasn’t until my college years, when a very kind security guard told a bully who I encountered in college to “leave me alone.” He intervened and announced “I was under his protection.”

My plea to you reading this, is to understand that one unaccepting person can create a trend that long outlasts her effort. It was not until an “upstander” – the security guard – intervened, that things changed. You see, you have the power to start a negative or positive trend. Who do you want to be? The fourth-grade bully? Or the security guard hero?

Even as an adult, there are instances where I have been bullied. This time though, the bullying isn’t just because of how I look. It also encompasses my emotions, opinions, and feelings on different things.

We all have our own emotions and feelings, and differences of opinion. These differences are absolutely healthy! It is natural to have different viewpoints.

What is never okay, is to make others feel like only someone else’s viewpoints matter, and how they feel doesn’t count. That is simply not right. We all deserve grace, and the opportunity to express how we feel, as long as it isn’t in a cruel, derogatory, or unkind way.

No one ever deserves to be bullied. How truly boring our world would be if we were all the same, if we all acted the same, looked the same, and had the same ideals and viewpoints? We are all different, and we all deserve the very same dignity and respect no matter how we look.

My wish is that no one is ever bullied. I wish we could all look past the exterior shell, and see the heart and soul of a person. I wish we all had the ability to accept one another as we are, instead of what society wants us to be. If we could all just stop categorizing one another, and putting labels on people, what a wonderful world it would truly be.

In closing, I would like to challenge you, Reader, to combat bullying. Combat the hostility that people with craniofacial and physical differences have to face every single day of their lives. If you are with someone, and they are being bullied, stand up for them. Intervene and speak up! Let them know that they are never alone in how they are being treated.

Help them by talking to another trusted family member, or friend, about the bullying incident. Never let the person being bullied be made to feel so alone. Instead of spreading unacceptance, and unkindness, of people who look different, let us instead spread unconditional acceptance and love for all. I promise you, the wonderful feeling you get when you know you have given someone a chance to be your friend is absolutely amazing. It is truly rewarding for a person who is different to know they will always be unconditionally accepted and loved no matter what. You can change the world, if you take on this challenge!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Minted Is Here To Stay - Purchase Cards, Gifts for Your Favorite Valentine

Editor's Note: Minted is with us all year long. We are so excited about this program because we love their cards, gifts, and custom goodies. Please read a message from the Minted team below, and go to Minted.com to start ordering your notes, and gifts for Valentines' Day.  

We are excited to announce that Minted’s Fundraising Program will now be offered year-round, just in time for Valentine’s Day! It’s the perfect occasion to send love with our limited supply bags & pouches, custom heart-shaped puzzles, and new mailable classroom valentines, all while giving back to Children's Craniofacial Association.

Enjoy 20% OFF Minted cards & gifts throughout the year when you or others in your community use your unique promo code FUNDRAISECRANIO at checkout, and 15% of each order will be donated back to your organization. Check out our Terms & Conditions for more information. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Here's The Good News...Children's Book Author, Jeni Ihm, Gets Lift From Pandemic


Screen shot from WGN Website
Click on the image to view the WGN video

I am so excited to share some great news. Our friend, Mom, and author, Jeni Donatelli Ihm received major, media attention for her children's book Superhero Smiles, lifting up the everyday heroes on the front lines of the fight against COVID19. WGN in Chicago, Illinois did a "Chicago's Own" segment during their news hour featuring the "accidental author" and her family that inspired the book. The story is a positive reminder that though we may all have different smiles, we all have the ability to inspire each other in small moments and large. All proceeds from purchases of the book go to UNICEF's COVID19 relief fund for children. You can purchase the book here

Learn more about the book in this CCA Kids blog post, or by watching the video at this link

If you have a positive news story that you would like featured here on the CCA Kids Blog, share it with us by emailing kjackman@ccakids.com 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Virtual Parent Support Group Tues., Feb. 9th at 7PM EASTERN TIME with Foundation for Faces of Children

EDITOR'S NOTE: Foundation for Faces of Children based in Boston, MA will be hosting a virtual parent support group on Tuesday, February 9th at 7:00PM. Please click the RSVP button below to hold your spot. This is another wonderful opportunity to be in community with other craniofacial-affected families. They are a great group of people, doing wonderful things for New England region. This event is open to all, nation-wide. If you are feeling a need for community, please RSVP and join the call on Feb. 9th.  

Foundation for Faces of Children

Virtual Parent Support Group
Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 7pm - 8:30pm

Meeting via Zoom
Please RSVP by February 7th!
Please join FFC's 2nd Virtual Parent Support Group!

As we promised and in continuation of FFC’s virtual Parent Support group in Nov, we will have the second support group on Tuesday, February 9th at 7pm.
7:00 pm EST - Introduction and general discussion

7:20 pm EST - The group will be divided into smaller age-based break out sessions to allow for more in-depth discussions / open Q&A.

Boston Children's Hospital professionals attending to answer questions and provide us with their invaluable expertise and experience:
  • Ingrid Ganske, MD (Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon)
  • Olivia Oppel, RN (Served as Craniofacial team's RN)
  • Dorothy MacDonald, RN (retired Craniofacial team's RN)

Parents can meet and connect with other parents and have a chance to talk, ask questions, support each other and share experiences in a relaxed virtual environment.

Please join us and bring your questions in regards to your child’s diagnosis, school issues, newborn care and concerns, emotional challenges and overall parenting issues. Parents of ALL craniofacial conditions and across all ages are welcome.
Please RSVP by February 7th at https://forms.gle/DDQtUYy9gRNN7d4K7
Hope to see you soon!

* The zoom sessions and the discussions are confidential and won't be shared with any organization or third party.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Study Asks Participants When They Disclose Facial Differences With Others

EDITOR'S NOTE: This Moebius Syndrome Foundation Interview study hopes to focus on learning from people whom have facial differences when they decide to disclose their differences with friends. Study participants will receive a $15 Amazon gift card for their time and answers. 

Read more about the study below. The image above features all the same information that appears below!

Introduction and Study Details

We want to learn about the experiences of people with facial differences in deciding whether or not to discuss their difference with other people. Do you have a facial difference of any kind (for example, cleft lip/palate, burns, a scar, hemifacial microsomia, Moebius syndrome, facial paralysis, Treacher Collins syndrome, or a skin conditions)? Have you discussed your facial difference with friends, colleagues, romantic partners, etc.? What was the outcome? We want to interview you for a study about if and when you inform other people about your difference. 

What would I do as a study participant? 

  • 30-60 minute interview via phone, video call, or in person
  • Get a $15 Amazon gift card

Who is eligible to participate? 

  • Have any kind of facial difference (that can be covered up or not)
  • 18 years or older
  • Live in the United States
  • Communicates in English

What will we do with the study? 

The long-tern goal f this project is to develop recommendations for people with facial differences and their families about discussing facial difference with others. 

Who is the principal investigator? 

Kathleen Bogart, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Oregon State University. She studies stigma in facial difference and disabilities, has a facial difference herself, and is an advocate. 

To learn more or to participate contact principal investigator Kathleen Bogart, PhD at Kathleeon.bogart@oregonstate.edu

Friday, January 8, 2021

Research Opportunity: Speech Pathology Among Adolescents and Adults With Moebius Syndrome

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please review the information below from researchers at Artevelde University College of Ghent. The researchers state what they are hoping to learn about speech pathology for people born with Moebius syndrome. If you think that your experience could help them with their research, and you are eligible according to their guidelines, reach out and contact them or fill our the questionnaire at the link below. Supervising researcher is liesbet.desmet@arteveldehs.be or student researchers julie.velahe@student.artveldehs.be or julivand46@student.arteveldehs.be 

We are two students of the study programme Bachelor in Speech and Language Therapy at Artevelde University College Ghent. As part of our Bachelor's thesis Functional complaints in adolescents and adults with Moebius syndrome, we would like to question people with Moebius syndrome aged 12 years and older via an online survey.

Since there has already been written much about functional complaints in children with Moebius syndrome, the focus here is on adolescents and adults. In this way, we hope to be a driving force for conducting more scientific research and thus increase public awareness of this syndrome. Therefore we were wondering if you would like to share our online survey and poster in this group?

In the poster you will find more information about our research (see poster above). 

Participants can fill in the questionnaire via this link

We kindly ask you to fill these in before the end of February.

We thank you in advance
Kind regards

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day Press Release

EDITOR'S NOTE: We are pleased to share and promote Moebius Syndrome Awareness day. This press release shared with us by the Moebius Syndrome Foundation, Moebius Syndrome Research Trust, and Many Faces of Moebius Syndrome may be used to raise awareness with your local news and media outlets. 

Join us as we stand united to raise awareness on January 24th. 

Press Release – Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day 2021

The Many Faces of Moebius Syndrome (www.mfoms.org), the Moebius Syndrome

Foundation (www.moebiussyndrome.org), the Moebius Syndrome Research Trust

(www.moebiusresearchtrust.org), the Children’s Craniofacial Association (www.ccakids.com), and Face Equality International (www.faceequalityinternational.org), are proud to announce the 11th annual Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day which will be celebrated worldwide on Sunday the 24th of January, 2021.

Moebius Syndrome is an extremely rare congenital neurological disorder which is characterized by facial paralysis and the inability to move the eyes from side to side. Most people with Moebius Syndrome are born with complete facial paralysis and can't close their eyes or show facial expressions. Limb and chest wall abnormalities often occur with the syndrome. Respiratory problems, speech and swallowing disorders, visual impairments, sensory integration dysfunction, sleep disorders and weak upper body strength may also be present.

It is estimated that there are only between 10,000 to 25,000 cases of Moebius syndrome worldwide.

In past year's Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day has been a resounding success and saw participation from every continent on the planet – the main-focus is to create awareness. MSAD events have taken place around the globe in homes, schools, churches, workplaces, auditoriums, and outdoors. Dozens of news stories have hit the headlines, wound up on the airwaves, and blasted off into cyberspace via various print, TV, radio and social media news publications!

Family, and the importance thereof in the lives of individuals who have Moebius syndrome is the focus of this year's Awareness Day. "It is a tribute to the many families around the world who are often the unsung heroes of our lives" says Tim Smith, President of the Many Faces of Moebius Syndrome, who himself has the condition.

"There is no substitute for a loving, supportive family whether that family is biological, or our worldwide Moebius Family. Knowing someone is there to support and fight for you when the going gets tough makes living with Moebius Syndrome a little easier” says Vicki McCarrell, former President of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation.

Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day is held annually on the 24th of January, the birthdate of Professor Paul Julius Moebius, the doctor who first diagnosed the disorder in 1888.

Please join the Global Moebius Syndrome community and take part in one of the many family, or virtual gatherings taking place on January 24, 2020. We encourage you to proudly wear purple and do some of your

own research to educate yourself and others about Moebius Syndrome. We appreciate your support and look forward to the biggest Moebius Syndrome Awareness day ever!

New England High School and College Students Apply For FFC 2021 Scholarships!

Editor's Note: New England residents! Please read on to learn more about the Foundation for Faces of Children 2021 scholarships. We are excited to share this opportunity to further your secondary education. 

Applications for FFC's 2021 Scholarship Awards are NOW being accepted! Students born with a facial difference who reside in New England and are pursuing a Secondary Education degree may qualify. For full details, please go to: https://facesofchildren.org/scholarship/

☄️All documentation must be received by March 1 to be considered.☄️

Please apply HERE

The program annually awards post-secondary education scholarships (college or vocational/technical school) to promising students born with a facial difference. High school graduates or students currently attending college who are residents of New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) are eligible to apply. The Foundation selects award recipients based on their academic performance, extracurricular activities, and community service. In 2020, FFC has awarded $25,000 in scholarships.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Thank You Real Food Blends, PLUS A 2020 RECAP From Our Development Director

Today we would like to thank Real Food Blends for placing an advertisement in our most recent newsletter. This newsletter is vital in sharing the impactful stories from our community. New and existing families within our community are very grateful for your help in keeping this program alive. It is a lifeline for all, letting them know they are not alone. We cannot think of a more important message than that one especially during a time when we are being told to stay socially distant from others.

To get a sense of the type of stories we tell in our newsletter, an article capturing our 2020 fundraising achievements written by Development Director, Christine Andler. A typescript version development accomplishments can be found below in order to make this story accessible to all.

Read our whole E-Newsletter by clicking here.

Thank you, again, Real Food Blends. Go to their website to place your order, and learn more about the high-quality, nutritional "100% real food meals for people with feeding tubes."

If you would have told me in January the 2020 Development Letter to you all would shape up anything like this, I would have thought you were on another planet! It was nothing short of heartbreaking to see the cancellation of two CCA golf tournaments, countless family fundraisers, and to have most of our large sponsorships for Retreat pull support as the ripple effects of this pandemic took its toll on us. While this time has been beyond challenging, there are some incredibly beautiful silver linings to this year. The one I want to illuminate is how the pandemic gave us the opportunity to re-imagine (and fast) how we fundraise -- with the help of so many of you!

I am incredibly humbled by the efforts of our CCA community. From our amazing families, staff, board members to new incredible friends who wanted to give and found us during an extreme time of need. I would especially like to extend our thanks to these shining stars:

Early in this year we were able to get in two wonderful in person family fundraisers for CCA.

Lisa Bowers (please check out her feature on page xx to see all of her efforts!) partnered with Madelyn Karchut for her Senior Give Back project: a Spaghetti Dinner Night that raised over $7,000! Also, Liz and Nova Cox did an amazing job at securing CCA as the beneficiary for the 2020 Massachusetts State Breaking Championship, which raised over $5,000!

As the year went on, we saw other socially distanced “events” and fundraisers dreamed up to help us raise money. TheCCA Marketplace became a wonderful tool for us to find friends and families to profit share a portion of their sales back to CCA. Sue Giles led the way with her girlfriends Boon Supply Co. shopping event, Michele Gonzales sold Jayden’s hand drawn sugar skull stickers, Courtney Schmidt offered her One Hope Wine fundraiser, artist Julie Lyles pledged support with her original watercolor paintings, Allie Quinn and Jenny Sollymossy shared their Color Street businesses, Maigan Baker hosted a successful Cards for a Cause party, our Outreach Director, Khadija Moten, crafted vinyl decals and custom Starbucks cups via her Etsy shop, plus other companies are still helping us “shop for a cause” on an ongoing basis.

We’d also like to send a huge shoutout to Patricia Simon for investing in the CCA logo gaiters that we have been able to sell to help stop the spread of germs! We truly thank all of you who purchased from our Marketplace and webstore. Please take a look at our current offerings for great gifting options throughout this holiday season! So far, the CCA Marketplace has brought in nearly $5,000!

While some of us utilized retail therapy, some of you have been working on your “Quarantine Bodies” and got into the fitness craze. We are so thankful for the folks who hosted fitness fundraisers for CCA! URU Yoga in Pensacola, FL, and Tula Yoga, in Aberdeen, NJ both gave benefit yoga classes. Recently, Crystal Kouri taught kickboxing in the park to raise funds in honor of her son, PJ, and they were able to donate over $300 from their high intensity efforts.

Two amazing ladies, our Program Director, Annie Reeves, and Board Member, Kelly Cunha, went the extra mile and dug into their own personal networks to raise incredible amounts on behalf of their birthdays – together they raised almost $10,000!

Speaking of incredible Board Members, Bill Mecklenburg did not let the early effects of the pandemic halt his fundraising efforts one bit. I was blown away how his network, who usually give and participate in the annual Morgan Meck Match Play Invitational (MMI) golf tournament, gave and gave generously even after learning the event was canceled. In all, the 2020 MMI raised $70,271 and continues to see funds come in even as this letter went live. This amazing group of donors are loyal and a true testament of Bill’s love and hard work he does constantly for CCA.

Our board keeps delivering miracles, as Board Member, Steven Weiss, his wife, Petty Weiss, and his mother, Ellen Weiss, campaigned and delivered an incredible CAM fundraiser totaling over $16,000 in just a few weeks from their own network of generous friends and family. This is the type of giving that truly moves the needle for CCA. The Weiss family gathered all of this financial support via a completely zero cost “virtual” fundraiser. Even though we call this fundraiser a “virtual” one, we know that the time invested was real and significant and the work done by Petty and Ellen entailed phone calls, emails, and endless enthusiasm. Thank you, Weiss Family, for this spectacular job!

In addition to all the virtual activities CAM brought this year, we also had some of our CCA community do a special CAM month funder that generated amazing results, too. Thank you to our top fundraisers: Chrissy Clinton, Khadija Moten, Ray Merenstein, Dana Fernando, and Shannon Marie LaBarbera.

Thanks to the connective force of social media, we gained invaluable new friends. Manny Ventura ran with his handsome smile for the entire month of July for Cleft and Craniofacial awareness and raised over $12,000 for five different charities including CCA. He has grown into a big piece of our CCA virtual programming and we are grateful for his friendship. LaDarius Davis, too, became a certified Speakers Bureau member and a huge part of our outreach programming. For CAM, he and his sister, Ceairra Davis Fruster gave 50% back of a custom embroidered CCA facemask to CCA and raised over $400! Another amazing soul we have e-met is Chelsea Buyalos, who has become a beautiful champion of acceptance and has used her talented voice to do virtual benefit concerts on behalf of CCA. Speaking of music, thanks to Instagram we connected with the utterly talented Josh Daniel’s Band (check his feature on page xx) and with his nightly “Couch Tour” and raffle, hosted by 5 Points Realty and Briley Burris, he raised $22,050 for CCA!

A special friend to CCA is Master Gem Cutter, Denny Bradley. We have been the incredibly lucky to be the recipient of his beautiful gemstones and this year he donated an exclusive nearly 30-carat citrine necklace to be a part of our 2020 Ginger Town Holiday Fundraiser that will be up on our site soon! Speaking of Ginger Town, we cannot thank NorthPark Center’s RJ Reissig enough for working so hard to come up with a creative solution to our annual tradition and partnership with NorthPark. More info will be out soon, but RJ’s love for CCA has warmed our hearts up more than a tray of fresh gingerbread, just out of the oven.

Without you, this life-changing work would not be possible. Thank you for all the creative ways you have helped us in such a trying year. As we head into the “Giving Season,” we hope CCA remains at the top of your list to support. We are still feeling the heavy effects of a large dip in donations and the loss of our big fundraisers. Every gift truly counts. Help us end the year with the momentum to continue our amazing programs which so many of you love very much.


Christine Andler
Director of Development