Saturday, December 30, 2017

Be A Hero, Give The Gift of Belonging & Friendship Today!

How often do you have the opportunity to be a hero? Can you honestly say that you made a friendship possible? Well, today you can!
If you donate to CCA before the year ends, you can send a child affected by a facial different to our Annual Family Retreat and Educational Symposium.

A donation of any amount supports our work as an organization. Even $5 makes a difference! We are so grateful for the generosity of all of our donors, volunteers, sponsors, and friends.

For those who are especially blessed, a donation of $1000 sends a family to our annual, family networking event that changes lives. All of our attendees are in some way affected by facial differences like Apert Syndrome, Crouzon Syndrome, Treacher Collins Sydrome, Cleft Lip and Palate, among many others. It is during the four magical days in June each year that families and children realize they are not alone, they are not the only one out there that looks like them, or faces the trials and triumphs they do. They are afforded the time to spend with each other in a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere with planned activities, dinners, and excursions. Lifelong friendships are forged and support is freely given and received.

The Annual Family Retreat and Educational Symposium is the event that all of our families look forward to year round. Due to the premiere of the movie “Wonder,” we have received double the scholarship applications for our 2018 Retreat, which this year will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

All of this love comes at a cost to CCA and we do not want anyone to be left out. With your donation, we can bring one more child to retreat that desperately needs assurance and companionship.

Give the gift of belonging and acceptance.
Give the gift of never being alone again.

Thank you so very much!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bring Comfort and Joy To Families In 2018!

As you sit and reflect on the Christmas Day that has come and gone, that day of comfort and joy, please keep our CCA Families in your thoughts. Children’s Craniofacial Association hopes to keep these moments of comfort and joy available to all people throughout the year. Whether you are one of the 25,000 families each year that will welcome a child with a facial difference into your lives, or if you are a friend to one of these children, we want to make sure the hand of CCA is there for all that need it.

CCA has offered support to families since 1989. We earned, and continue to earn, a loyal following through word of mouth and family networking, by meeting the medical, financial, educational, and psychological needs of children and adults affected by facial differences. As we go into our 29th year of service, we want to do even more to reach people that need our help or want to help us in making the world a kinder, more tolerant place. 

Since the premiere of the movie “Wonder,” the bar has been raised. Now the world has experienced what Auggie Pullman, his family, and all of our children go through on a daily basis. The world now knows the struggle of getting up, going to school, facing fears, and learning important life lessons that build character and encourage kindness. The funds you donate today will help CCA reach our goal of distributing more copies of R.J. Palacio’s New York Times-Best Selling book into middle school students’ hands throughout the world. It will allow us to match more classrooms with student advocates and speakers who connect this beautiful work of fiction to true, impactful stories of hope, triumph, achievement, and humor. We need your help to bring the 95 families who have applied for assistance to our 28th Annual Family Retreat & Educational Symposium. (For perspective, last year we had just 50 applicants and the year before less than 30!) Our demand for support is higher than ever… and to answer this call, we need you.

In 2018, we plan on providing valuable activities, educational programs, financial assistance for medical travel, and social programming that bring families together. CCA will continue to share stories of courage to people around the world, many of whom undoubtedly need this message of hope in their own journeys. In 2018, we will endeavor to go global with our message of kindness. More people should know what it means to #ChooseKind. Your donation will help us increase our partnerships with educators, medical professionals, and others that can spread our message of kindness and help make our vision a reality: that all people are accepted for who they are not, not how they look. 

Please give your tax deductible gift today, before this WONDERful year comes to a close.

With Sincere Gratitude and Blessings in the New Year,

CCA Staff

#ThankfulThursday: Roma's "Wonder" Boot Raises Awareness, Money For Two Causes

Roma Boots, a Dallas-area boot company created a boot to celebrate the premiere of the movie "Wonder" in theaters on November 17th. Together, CCA and Roma will take a step toward kindness with the sales of Roma's turquoise-hued, star-studded, children's boot. We are so very excited to be working together to raise awareness about facial differences and share in Roma's goal to #GivePovertyTheBoot.

Sam Bistrian, CEO of Roma boots, wanted to help as many children as he could through his shoe company.  He especially wanted to positively impact the poorest of children in his native country of Romania.  Bistrian combined his love of fashion, shoes, and philanthropy, starting Roma boots. Each pair of boots sold benefits a child in need of shoes or boots in Romania. One pair of boots sold, means one child somewhere in the world will receive a pair, too.

Bistrian and CCA Executive Director, Erica Mossholder met in Dallas, TX. They shared their stories of feeling different, Bistrian because he was an immigrant and Mossholder because she was born with a facial difference. Mossholder spoke to him about CCA's #ChooseKind campaign. Bistrian's flare for kindness fit well with the CCA's mission to empower people with facial differences around the country. Now, CCA and Roma boots are working together to share kindness with the world.

To help Roma meet their goals of giving shoes to children in need and spreading kindness worldwide, please purchase a pair of the Roma signature Wonder boots here.

Learn more about the Wonder boot by watching this video.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

#WonderWednesday: Richmond VCU Craniofacial Patients See "Wonder"

There is no better way to encapsulate the movie, "Wonder" nor the reason for the Center for Craniofacial Care at Children's Hospital of Richmond to organize their local screening than the quotation made by attendees and parent, Jean Marshall, who said she feels it is important to "Be around people that care about you and stay positive about stuff and don’t let bad things get you down."

Marshall, one of a few parents profiled in this piece about the hospital associated with Virginia Commonwealth University, published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, tells the stories of real children that live each day like  August Pullman, the main character in "Wonder."  The story reveals more about the courageous, but quietly-lived lives of the over 25,000 children born each year with a facial difference. 

I hope it gives you much needed inspiration, or at least let's you know you are not alone. 

Happy #WonderWednesday to you!

Best Ways To Protect Your Child's Skin During the Winter

By Amy K. Williams

Amy Williams is a freelance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

As we flip our calendars, it’s hard not to notice that we are in winter’s icy grip. This change of seasons is our cue to start digging out the warm sweaters, snow shovels, and soup recipes. While many of us love to snuggle in for a cold winter, we often overlook the impact winter weather has on our kids’ delicate skin. Unfortunately, the cold northern breezes often usher in a season of chapped, itchy, and irritated skin for our children that is often exacerbated by the dry atmosphere, forced air heating systems, and runny noses. As moms and dads, we owe it to our sons and daughters to look for the best ways to protect our kids’ skin from the winter weather.

Scroll through the following best ways to beat the elements and keep our kids comfortable in their own skin this winter:

Eat for your skin. We have all heard the adage about “you are what you eat”. There is a little truth to this saying when it comes to our skin. Encourage kids to consume healthy foods and drink plenty of water. We can prevent a lot of skin problems by consuming foods that are loaded with essential fatty acids, such as: avocados, flax, olive oil, walnuts, and even salmon.

Add moisture to the air. Do you remember shuffling our feet on the carpet to build static electricity to shock unsuspecting siblings? Many of us do and this time honored tradition occurs partly due to the fact that winter air can be dry, especially inside our homes. This low humidity can cause our littles to experience painful dry, itchy, and rough skin which can be very uncomfortable. We can relieve some of the dryness by adding moisture back into the air using warm air humidifiers or by boiling a large pot of water on the stove. Aim to reach a 60 percent humidity level for ultimate comfort. However, we do recommend using caution and keeping these items out of the reach of children to prevent any mishaps or burns.

Moisturize their skin. Unfortunately, adding humidity to the air doesn’t always keep dry skin away. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the key to defending kids against dry skin is to trap in the existing moisture by using ointments or creams. For best results, use products that contain the following ingredients: lanolin, glycerin, petroleum, mineral oil, olive oil, and other essential oils. It is best to apply moisturizers immediately after bathing to lock moisture in and prevent further drying.

Skip the nightly bath. Surprisingly, our boys and girls don’t need to take a dip in the tub every day or evening. Daily bathing can remove the skin’s natural oils and do more harm than good. Overbathing can cause eczema and other dry skin conditions to flare up. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, we only need to bath our children one or two times a week. Unless, of course, they are particularly smelly or dirty. Even then, we should avoid using extremely hot water and limit their soaking time to 5 or 10 minutes.

Layer, layer, layer. Avoid over-bundling and layer our kids’ clothing to prevent chafing, overheating, and irritation. While our first instinct is to insulate them against the bitter cold weather, we need to dress children like an “onion” with peelable layers. Start out with a layer of cotton and then add on removable layers so kids can easily adjust to the unpredictable weather and temperatures without a lot of effort. This can prevent heat rashes, sweating, overheating, discomfort, and more.

Remember the sunblock. Yes, our skin still needs protection from the sun’s harmful rays even during the winter months. We need to consider that even when it’s cold and cloudy, 80 percent of the winter’s sun rays still make it to our earth’s surface. For this reason, our children are being exposed to UVA rays without protection and that can increase their risk for skin cancer in the future. To make matters worse, snow cover reflects and intensifies sunlight which can increase the likelihood of sunburns. These winter factors make it important that we keep applying sunblock on our sons’ and daughters’ delicate skin long after the dog days of summer.

Avoid irritants. Our goal should be to prevent skin problems so our kids don’t suffer and we don’t have to treat them. One way we can do this is by avoiding irritants by keeping little ones out of harsh winds and avoid overuse of hand sanitizers, cleaners, harsh soaps, damp clothes, or very hot water irritants.

What are the best ways you can protect your kid’s skin from winter weather?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Study Participants Needed For Patient Feedback Research

 University of Washington students are doing a research study to learn more about how to improve post-operative care and communication. Their hope is to learn the needs of the patients after their surgeries through this survey. After you read the project description and take the survey, a University of Washington researcher may call you to ask some more questions about your experiences. This should take around 30 minutes of your time.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

#ThankfulThursday: Students Continue To See "Wonder"

We are grateful that teachers across the country are bringing their students to see "Wonder" in theaters. The latest group of students to read the book and see the movie are from Woodland, California. Many schools in the Woodland district went, the middle school students learning about empathy and bullying through the R.J. Palacio's story brought to life on the big screen. High school students analyzed some of the movie-making magic that went into the film. Sounds like the Woodland students had a great time. The faculty and staff of the school system should be commended for their creative approach to incorporating the book and movie into their curriculum.

If you plan on seeing the film, please go to the Filmraiser site to purchase tickets. One dollar from each ticket sale will be donated to Children's Craniofacial Association.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#WonderWednesday:4 Ways TO Be (Or Become) Wonderful

Having trouble finding your Wonder? Thought you had it and lost it? No problem! These items will help you become a Wonder in a matter of moments. 

1. Write About It

I love this Wonder Journal. If you want to be a Wonder in 2018, then you simply must grab one of these books. Each day has a a precept upon which to ponder and write. Or you can write about something inspiring that happened that day. Whether you are feeling Wonder-ful that day or not, this little book could help you out. 

2. Get Moving

Exercise always makes me feel incredible. It gives you energy, an improved mood, and warmth (sometimes in the form of sweat). Try this quick resistance band workout created by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's person trainer, Bryant Johnson. Perfect for anyone on the go, and adaptable for those that are in wheelchairs. You can do it!

3. There's An App For That

There are tons of workplace and lifestyle productivity apps. Some of my favorites include Evernote, Wanderlist, Google Drive, and 

4. Let's Talk 

Go ahead, get out there! Volunteer with a group that means something to you. Or do things you love and seek out new people at the same tme. Go to Meetup.com to find your tribe, Or if you are looking for professional help, find a therapist that does tele therapy. I hear Better is a great resource. The more people you talk to or help, the more wonderful you are sure to feel. 

This is not an exhaustive list, so I pose the question to you, dear reader, what do you do that helps you fill your days with wonder?  Answer in the comments. We would love to hear from you. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Irving Elementary School Chooses Kind

A huge thanks to CCA Mom, Alicia Boddy, who rallied her school with the support of her daughter, Jameson, to host an amazing Wonder screening and fundraiser for CCA. You will love these photos! 

Alicia says,

On Sunday, November 19, Washington Irving Elementary school in Oak Park, IL rented out our local theater for a private screening of Wonder

Over 350 students, parents, teachers, staff, and friends all came together to experience the joy and tears of our favorite new movie! 

We will also be making a donation to CCA on behalf of Irving school. We are still working out the final numbers for that but stay tuned. We are all so excited to support CCA! 

...and we are excited and so grateful for your support! Thank you Irving Elementary and the Boddy Family!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

#ThankfulThursday: Donate Your Car, Boat,Truck or RV

Donate your car, truck, boat, or RV to CCA today. You can include this donation on your 2017 tax return. If it's on wheels and you no longer want it, send it to us. Learn more at 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#WonderWednesday: New York Elementary School Creates Wall of Wonder

The fourth graders at the Nassakeag Elementary School created a wall of "Wonder" featuring their guidance on how to #ChooseKind. The teachers and students took the opportunity to write their own precepts to make a powerful display at their school after reading the book thanks to excellent curriculum development by their teacher, Miss Donato. It is so heartening to see the impact that the book has on children. One school classroom at a time, the book positively impacts the hope for kindness in the present and future. Thank you Nassakeag Elementary. Keep up the great work.

To read more about this story, go to the Three Village Patch.

New Surgery Care Package Sign Up Form!

New link, new look for our surgery sign up. We are now using Google forms to capture your information for surgery care packages. If you signed up, send us another request through this new link, and we will send your son, daughter, or loved one a care package when they have surgery. 

Thank you so much for bearing with us through this transition. 

In the care package, your loved one will receive for a "Get Well" card, a care package, or a call of support for you, your partner, or your child! We will work to match your needs with our resources, to help you get through the experience feeling loved and supported. 

Dallas, TX Families: Lilly Pulitzer Event December 16th

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tuned In To Life: My Hearing Aid Adventure

By Kara Jackman 

I’m the proud owner of a hearing aid. I finally bit the bullet and bought one. I like it very much. My hearing continued to decrease, while my tinnitus decided to increase. I was left with no other choice. I had had more than enough close calls walking across the street, or with people coming up on my side and scaring the crap  out of me. Life just didn’t feel safe.

All of this started with what I thought was an ear infection to what has now graduated into hearing loss, pain on the right side of the face and ear, tingling, numbness, weird, uncontrollable facial spasming on one side of my face, and difficulty chewing because of the pain. 

I think this could be happening because of the ruptured right ear drum, created by enduring a number of ear infections over my 38 years. I'm more prone to them because of the cleft lip and palate and maze-like sinuses I was born with many years ago. The worst thing about my current conditon, and the thing that continues to be my undoing, is the tinnitus.
If you don’t know what tinnitus is consider yourself blessed. When I tell people I have tinnitus they often ask what it is. Then like a schmuck at an auto repair shop performing that “sound-his-car-makes” for the mechanic, I try to squeal as high as the frequency in my ear, or I play the toner on my Cleartune app. Almost always people say, “It’s like that all the time,” to which I reply “Yes.”

In the last three weeks the tinnitus has worsened, gotten louder, and sometimes even throws out another frequency, attempting to harmonize with itself, albeit very, very poorly. Other symptoms from the last three weeks include, facial spasms. Like really wacky face spasms that I can not control all that well. Most of the day I expend an enormous amount of energy to keep it from happening. Then I get in the car to go home from work and let my face get it’s groove on to whatever music I’m listening to that day. We do agree on one thing, my facial spasms and I, “Hotel California” by the Eagles is a terrible song.
The tinnitus, hearing loss, and bouncing face are all a bit too much too handle so I thought I would take it easy (ahem...sarcasm) and start using a highly technical hearing aid. It is composed of two pieces, a receiver shaped like a pen, and corresponding in-ear device.
It took some doing to get used to it. The pen receiver has a carrying case made of leather. Someone asked me if it was a knife because of the little leather jacket it wears.  No. Thanks for playing, though.  Shelly, show them their consolation prize. Or others have taken the more direct approach of asking “What is that?” I answer honestly, saying it is a receiver for the hearing aid you cannot see in my right ear.
The receiver picks up the sound and directs it to the ear piece.  The receiver, or pen, is best used if placed out on a table aimed at someone speaking.  There is no discreet way of doing this, but I have devised a few. I leave it on my desk in my office, I hold it like a pen in my hand, and I put it in my purse or pocket if on the go. It helps tremendously in overriding the high pitched squeal in my right ear.
It has also improved my ability to watch TV. I love to eat and watch TV  I can do that now without the volume being on 20-24 on the TV volume meter.  My neighbors are thrilled. Now, I can watch whatever I want, including the super quiet Netflix dramas on five or seven with the receiver sitting at the base of the TV speaker system. Football, basketball game and I'm in the kitchen, no problem. I can hear the play-by-play.

Thanks to the hearing device, In a setting with lots of people around I feel more balanced out, as if there is sound entering both ears. Unfortunately, though I have to point the pen in the direction of whomever may be so lucky to speak to me. I do not want to look like a television news reporter getting the  “man on the street” perspective, I keep the pen in my pocket or my purse. I usually pick up the noise of my shirt moving around, or catch the receiver rubbing up against the items in my bag. Thus defeating the purpose of its use. Many times, I end up blindly agreeing to things that I hope do not get me or someone else in trouble.  Often I worry that I have said “Yes” to questions like “Would you kill someone for me?” Or “Do you like the Eagles’ “Hotel California?” More than anything, I hope the latter has not happened

The other cool thing about it is I can leave the room and still hear what’s happening in the room I just left. If the receiver happens to have been left behind, I’m hoping at some point to hear some juicy gossip or some stuff talked about me “behind my back.” It has not happened yet. I will keep you posted.

The sound transmitted is tinny and hollow sounding. However, this was the best of the three or four hearing aids I tried. The garden variety version just goes in your ear and amplifies everything. With the pen, I have some control over how loud or whom I get to listen to. It is nice. The Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid, or (BAHA) was not a fit because I did not love how it felt. I do know that the BAHA is a great hearing aid for a great many people in the craniofacial community. It’s just not my jam.
One would think that in 2017 with the advent of $1,000+ headphones and beats by Dre that the world could come up with a better hearing aid. Unfortunately, this is not true. However, if there were ever a person to get the mix, tone, and warmth of sound right, I strongly believe it would be Dr. Dre. I say this after listening to some of his music over the years, but mostly because I watched HBO’s The Defiant Ones. So get on it Dre, please. Don’t leave money on the table! These devices are not cheap.

I'm new to the hearing aid racket, but I like it. Sometimes you have to take some risks to make your life more livable. I am glad I made this decision. I hope that if you ever need a hearing aid, or already wear one, that you do so with pride. No more FOMO for you or me! We are all tuned in to life. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#ThankfulThursday: North Park Gingertown Benefits CCA!

We are so thankful for Gingertown Dallas. Now in its eighth year, this display of gingerbread houses and other creations made of confections has helped Children's Craniofacial Association. Last year $20,000 was raised in Dallas through this incredible event.  

Gingertown, started in 2006, by David M. Schwarz Architects "is a unique holiday initiative which brings together talent from local design, urban planning, engineering, and construction firms for a live build competition to help spread joy and hope during the holidays." We are thrilled that all these firms come together to help raise awareness about CCA Kids at a place where so many people come together to purchase presents for their friends and family. 

There are Gingertown's across the United States in Washington, D.C., Nashville, TN, Dallas, TX, and Atlanta, GA. The one located in Dallas benefits CCA, while those in other cities benefits hospitals, nonprofits, and other organizations. If you wish to become a sponsor for Gingertown 2018 in one of these cities, please contact Schwarz Architects at 

Thank you all for your hard work in raising funds and awareness for craniofacial conditions through your building talents. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Nurturing Emotional Intelligence For Kids

Amy Williams is a freelance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

By Amy K. Williams
As children go through their day, it is inevitable that they will experience a wide array of emotions—the ones they feel as well as those expressed by others. Emotionally intelligent children have an ability to recognize these feelings and make good decisions accordingly. What’s so great about this is that emotional intelligence can be learned, and such learning often starts at home. For parents who want to nurture emotional intelligence in their kids, here are a few suggestions that can ensure your child develops this very important life skill.

Empathize with Your Child

The ability to empathize is an important quality that demonstrates emotional intelligence. Children will readily emulate what they see at home, including whether or not they empathize with others. Much of a child’s behaviors are based upon what they have learned from their parents. This is why it is so important for parents to empathize with their children if they want to encourage them to be emotional intelligent. It is more likely that children will empathize and be kind to others when they have received this from those who are most important to them. For instance, parents can routinely acknowledge their children’s feelings and let them know you care. As a result, the child will feel understood and will learn to display these same empathetic behaviors when they interact with others. This will in turn, strengthen their emotional intelligence skills.
Allow Your Child to Freely Express Their Emotions

Another great way to nurture emotional intelligence in children is to allow them to freely express themselves. Parents should openly accept the full range of emotions that their children display on a daily basis. From bouts of anger and disappointment over not getting something they wanted, to squabbles with siblings, allow your child to express what they are feeling. Unfortunately, minimizing or denying a child’s emotions will send them the wrong message. Such a message will tell them that what they are feeling is not important and that they should suppress their emotions. While a child may learn to hide their feelings, these feelings do not just disappear. Instead, encourage emotional intelligence in your child by acknowledging their emotions—whether good or bad—and letting them know that it is okay to feel that way given the circumstances.

Teach Children to Reflect Back on Their Feelings

Also, teach children early on how to think back on how they were feeling. Children of all ages can greatly benefit from learning how to name and identify their various feelings. As an example, if a child throws a tantrum over something, a parent can say to their child, “I know that you felt frustrated over not being able to do what you wanted. It is okay to feel frustrated over this. What is another way you can respond next time?” Such encouraging words will help the child to recognize their emotions, understand them, and make better decisions in similar situations. In this manner, parents who want to nurture emotional intelligence can Help their children manage their emotions and regulate them going forward. This also means that children can learn how to calm their emotions in tough situations which will give them a chance to think back on the emotions they were experiencing.

Nurture and encourage emotional intelligence in your child by being empathetic towards them, by allowing them to express their emotions and by teaching them how to reflect back on what they have been feeling. Parents can teach children emotional intelligence everyday by displaying qualities of emotional intelligence themselves. From recognizing and understanding the emotions and feelings children are experiencing, to encouraging children to do the same with others, emotional intelligence can bring many benefits towards a child’s well-being, with parents being their children’s greatest teachers.