Tuesday, May 7, 2019

30 Stories, 30 Faces, 30 Years: Melissa McGowan

While talking about Pfeiffer syndrome recently, I was asked if there had been a moment of realization that everything would be okay and our family could handle this journey. Without hesitation, I shared about the moment I found CCA. CCA has given our family hope, has empowered us to be advocates for the craniofacial community, and has introduced us to strangers who quickly became family. With the support of CCA, we’re not just “okay.” We’re thriving.

                                           --Melissa McGowan, CCA Mother

Melissa and her husband Tom McGowan live in Canonsburg, PA. They have four beautiful children, Abby, six, Reese, four, Josie, two, and their newest bundle of joy, Elizabeth was born on April 4, 2019. Melissa enjoys taking her girls to the park and cheering on their favorite baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates (Go Bucs!). They are always playing interesting games, completing fun projects, and exploring the world with their Mom. 

Currently, Melissa is a proud, stay-at-home mother. She attended West Virginia University where she earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Mathematics. She taught for a while and then lent her talents to writing grants for an after school program after Abby was born. Melissa loves being home with the kids, though some days she does admit to missing the classroom.

Melissa and Tom found CCA shortly after Abby was born, while searching for more information on Pfeiffer syndrome. While balancing the art of early parenthood, they were also receiving a crash course in the world of craniofacial differences. Melissa reflects on this time, "It was definitely overwhelming at first with all of the testing, appointments, therapies, surgeries, specialists, etc, but our faith and our support system carried us through." All of this was possible because of the love of this superb mother.

Melissa shares the same worries all Moms have about their children's future, but thanks to the work CCA does in raising awareness and teaching empathy to students, she knows there is hope. "I still worry that Abby will be treated unfairly because of her differences, but I know that anyone who takes the time to get to know her will learn what we know to be true: she is a strong, resilient, beautiful person who is an absolute inspiration and joy.”

Let us celebrate Melissa and all the CCA mothers this Mother’s Day by building a more accepting world for Abby and all her CCA friends.

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