BUFFALO, NY--When Addison was born, she was a bundle of joy, but her parents already knew something was wrong.
She was born with a frontal nasal encephalocele and a mid-line defect, and within that was a cleft lip and palate.
Her brain was actually herniating through the cleft in her palate. Surgery had to be performed when she was just 15 months old.
Renee had a similar story. At about 20 weeks into their pregnancy, Renee's parents found out that she would have a cleft lip and probably a cleft palate
She too had to undergo surgery to repair her craniofacial anomalies.
But the medical issues were not the only ones that Kelly Kinderman, Addison's mother, and Renee's mom, Jennifer Gall, found themselves having to wade through.
Gall says "We were talking so much about her treatment and what was covered and what was not, it was very scary. It was the unknown from day one."
From insurance coverage questions to special equipment needed and increased expenses, there was plenty to consider.
They found guidance through the staff at Women and Children's Hospital's Craniofacial Center. They found support, both emotional and financial through a group, created in 1990, called Miles For Smiles. The organization was formed to help parents get the support and services they need and to bridge the gap between what is and isn't covered by their insurance.
Kinderman says "Everyone came and really provided my husband and I hope that everything would be okay."
And for Gall, "Miles for Smiles has meant meeting other parents, my husband meeting other dads, and really supporting eachother through the journey."
Miles For Smiles, for as much support as they give, relies on the support of the community. On Monday, July 18th, you can help support the group through their 8th annual fundraiser. They will be holding a wine tasting, complete with food, silent and basket auctions and a disc jockey.
Patient Care Coordinator Jan Rockwood says the financial support they get from events like this enables them to restore the smiles for kids like Addison and Renee.