Cleft lip and palate awareness week 2017

EEAST RRVs and amb on scene

May 6th see’s the return of the annual cleft lip and palate awareness week. According to CLAPA (cleft lip and palate association) “around one in seven hundred babies are born with a cleft around the world. That’s over one thousand babies born with a cleft each year in the UK!”

Cleft Lip and Palate Awareness Week is a national campaign to fight the myths and clarify any misunderstandings about how cleft lip and palate affects people and their families in the UK, from diagnosis right through to adulthood. Myths include the theory that cleft is a purely cosmetic concern. It is in fact a complicated condition which impacts everyone differently.

David Brennecke, an officer from the regional operations centre in Chelmsford, has had first-hand experience, as his son Jack was born with a cleft lip and gum: “When my wife became pregnant with twins, we were informed at the 20 week scan that one of my sons had a cleft palate. 

“We were referred to CLAPPA. They helped us prepare for the birth (which included providing special feeding bottles), his first operation at six months and any further support, treatment or operations he may require until he turns 21. Jack was born with a cleft lip and gum and luckily his palate was unaffected”.

The NHS provides world‐class treatment, but the challenges don’t stop there. It can have long‐term effects on feeding, speech, hearing, appearance and more, but one of the biggest hurdles is a lack of public awareness and understanding.

As well as raising awareness, there will also be events to raise money and bring people together to share their personal experiences. They will end with a finale at the Queen Elizabeth Park in London on Saturday, 20th May, where people will be abseiling down one of the UK’s tallest sculptures, the ArcelorMittal Orbit. There will also be a Clapathon which includes a sponsored walk, picnic in the park, and the Clapathon games.

If you would like to find out more about cleft lip and palate, or this year’s awareness week, you can do so on the CLAPA website

During awareness week, David will be back with a blog post to share more about his family’s experiences and what additional and specialist care Jack has needed.

Published 3rd April, 2017


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