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Simon Says We Can Learn So Much from Our Fury Friends

We really can learn so much from our fury friends…

 

smile simon

 

-With the wind in your hair run until you are so tired

you stick your tongue out.

-Go out and have fun.

-Look around and take in all the different smells and sounds.

-Always be happy to see someone.

-Take naps -often.

-Before you fall fast asleep let all the air out of your lungs and exhale.

-When you wake up, stretch and say your prayers.

-If you get a chance to go in the water jump in. Jump right in. Don’t dip your toe in the water and say it’s too cold.

-Eat what’s on your plate and be happy you have food in your stomach.

-When you get a chance to pee then pee. Don’t put it off.

-If someone wants to hug you then be open to it.

-Enjoy the fresh air.

-Wipe your feet before you come inside.

-If something is bothering you then speak up. You have a voice so use it.

-Play well with others

-Things are not always handed to you. You have to be willing to explore and see what you find. Sometimes it’s not what you were looking for.

-Have fun. Good old fun.

-Doesn’t take much to be happy.

-Try not to jump on anyone and push your views on them.

-Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind.

-Be the best person you can be.

-If you did something wrong, don’t hide. Admit it.

-Accidents happen. Deal with it.

-Don’t look at life through a window. If given the chance, go outside and explore.

-Greet people with a smile instead of a snarl.

-You have to follow orders-sometimes.šŸ˜Š

-You never know what’s gonna fall in your lap so be ready for it.

-Lick your wounds and move forward.

-Stick your head out the window and enjoy the ride.

-Keep your ID with you because you never know when you’ll need it.

-Sometimes you just have to scratch yourself at the most inappropriate time.

-Look at people straight in the eye.

-If you are happy, jump around, show it.

-Don’t start digging around looking for trouble.

-If you have to pass gas look around and make it look like it didn’t come from you.

-Be well groomed-look good!

-Get enough sleep.

-Drink plenty of water.

-Possession is 9/10th of the law. Grab your side of the bed and don’t move.

-Everyone loves a soft, cuddly stuffed animal.

-As you get older it gets harder to get in and out of a car or chair. If someone offers you a hand, accept it.

-Go to the doctor every year and get a physical. Make sure you are up to date with all your vaccines.

-Snuggle.

-If you see a skunk, slowly walk away.

-Keep your eye on the ball.

-Give unconditional love. It’s the best gift to get and to receive.

-It never is easy to say goodbye. Never.

 

smile simon

 

smile simon

 

smile simon

 

smile simon

 

smile simon

 

Just Smile~Smile Back

Simon Says Mean People and Bullies Not Welcome

This simple yet significant message was on the admission sign as I was paying to go into a auto museum.

 

Simon says mean people and bullies not welcome.

 

smile with simon

 

As I walked around looking at all the beautiful classic cars, I kept thinking about the sign.

What if? What if every home, school, company, restaurant, airport, stadium, and park posted a sign saying the same thing? Mean people and bullies not welcome.

This simple yet significant message would be seen everywhere. If someone was bullying someone in a restaurant you could simply point to the sign and say please leave the premises because bullies are not welcome. How wonderful would that be! Please don’t come in if you are going to be mean and if you are going to bully someone. Out the door you go. Bye, bye.

It’s a global message. You could live in a northwest suburb of Chicago and see the signs everywhere or you could be in Florence, Italy and see the same message. It’s universal messaging.

No yard signs of politicians running for office. No signs of politicians at every stop sign saying they are the best candidate. Instead a sign that stays up year round.

Maybe that’s just what we need. Right now.

When I was growing up, there was a song on the radio. It was in the 70s. Tony Orlando and Dawn sang it. “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”.

Every tree had a yellow ribbon on it. You could drive for miles and miles and see yellow ribbons tied to trees blowing softly in the wind. It was comforting to see those ribbons.

The symbol of the yellow ribbon became widely known in the 1970s as a reminder that an absent loved one in the military would be welcomed home on their return.

The yellow ribbons appeared again in 1980 when Americans put them on trees to remember the hostages being held in Iran.

 

The yellow ribbon was a sign of hope, unity, and love.

 

Imagine spontaneous appearances all around the world showing this message. Mean people and bullies not welcome.

Maybe this is just what we need right now. Focus on sending positive messages and stand up to people that don’t treat others with respect.

 

smile with simon

 

So instead of seeing yellow ribbons, you would see -mean people and bullies not welcome.

Maybe, just maybe this is the message we need to be seeing now. Stand up, have a voice saying that being mean to people and bullying people is not accepted. Open the door and out you go and take your mean attitude with you. Maybe that person will think twice about doing that again to someone. Bullies have excluded others by being mean. Now it’s time to turn the table and exclude them. Let them know this type of behavior won’t be tolerated. United we stand.

 

simon

 

 

Simon Says It’s the Little Things

Simon says Holidays are fast approaching.

 

It’s the Little Things…

 

Yesterday, I saw these fabulous, huge, cuddly stuffed animals. I bought as many as I could fit in our SUV. These will be given out at the annual UIC Craniofacial Holiday Party. Face the Future is a wonderful foundation that helps put smiles on children’s faces. We volunteer because it’s such a great group of people trying to make a difference, one smile at a time.

 

simon says

simon says

I was like a little kid in a candy store. I was so excited that I had the ability to buy these stuffed animals for the kids. At the checkout line a lady said, “Oh wow, do you have a lot of grandkids?”. I explained that these would be given to children at a hospital Holiday Party. It was only later that Colleen said the woman thought we had grandchildren. I guess it’s time to pull out the old Clairol hair coloring box! I was so caught up in hugging the stuffed animals that I didn’t even hear her comment. Nothing wrong with her thinking they were being bought for our grandkids but I’m in my mid 50s and thought, well, that I always looked younger than my age. šŸ˜Š

My heart was so happy yesterday. Just imagining the smiles on the kids faces. The fun that they will have at the annual Holiday Party. It really felt good to do something for others.

The children of the Craniofacial Center at the University of Illinois come from very diverse socio-economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds. No child is ever denied services. All receive state-of-the-art care regardless of their ability to pay.

Face the Future Foundation ends the year with a joyous celebration at the Children’s Holiday Party, which brings patients, families, and the Face the Future team together in festive show of support and community.

Over 600 patients and families attend. Face painting, cookie decorating, mural coloring and other activities fill the afternoon. The highlight is always Santa’s visit. Santa’s helpers give each child a present.

 

simon says holidays
simon says
simon says
simon says

 

It’s the little things.. Taking time out to help others. No better gift for yourself and for others..

 

So, Ā if you are able to, please consider volunteering. I guarantee you that you will get so much out of it. And, it’s just a really nice thing to do.

simon says holidaysIf you are not able to volunteer, please consider making a donation to Face the Future Foundation. You will be so happy that you did!

*Click to Our Resources Page for Their Website.

Click on Face the Future Foundation’s Holiday Party Invitation Below…

HOLIDAY PARTY

Simon Says Our Unity is in Our Differences

Our unity is in our differences…

 

We may notĀ  be the same

And if we were it’d be a shame

You have a voice let go and sing

Open up just spread your wings

You’ve got to feel good about yourself

You’ve got to feel good about yourself

I am different but I am beautiful

We are different but we are beautiful

So smile with SimonĀ  and be kind

Smile and see what you will find

So smile with Simon this is his song

His badge of courageĀ  makes him strong

We’re still alike in many ways

Cardinals, sparrows and Blue jays

we fall sometimes but that’s okay

Pick yourself up and sieze the day

 

 

Just Smile~Smile Back

Simon Says Stand Up for the Little Guy

Simon says stand up for the little guy…

 

simon says stand up for the little guy

 

What would you do if you were given a check for 95 dollars?
Would you buy yourself something special? Would you go out for a nice dinner? How would you spend 95 dollars?

I received a royalty check from LuLu for the books I sold through their company. I launched both of my books (Smile with Simon and Simon and the Buddy Branch) at the end of June. As of today, I sold 171 books.

 

171 books.

 

In September I sold one book. In October I sold one book.

 

Over the past several months I sent out complimentary copies of both books to children and parents of children born with craniofacial differences. I sent out a total of 133 books. I sent books as far as the Philippines, Norway, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK. Ā Of which, I got 12 thank you messages.

When I sent inquiries to the people I sent the books to, in order to see if they received the complimentary copies, I either never heard back or some simply just said, ā€œyesā€.

 

It would be very easy for me to quit.

 

To stop promoting my books. To just call it a day. To no longer pay someone to market my books through social media-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

But, I canā€™t. Iā€™m going to persevere. I donā€™t have the luxury of working with a big name publishing company. I did this all independently and spent my own money to get these books out to people. Why? Because I saw a need. A need to spread the message that we are all different and we are all beautiful. You have to feel good about yourself.

I watch the morning shows such as Good Morning America and The Today Show. Almost all of the people that are on the news show have written and promoted their books on air. They are backed by a publishing company and marketing group to get their books out there.

But what about the little guy? The person who spends their own money to hire an illustrator, an editor, and a company to format and print the books. As well as paying someone to market the books via social media.

If I sell a book on Amazon, I make 57 cents. 57 cents. I had to price the books at $14.99 just to be able to make 57 cents per copy. I struggled having to price the books at such a high cost knowing that most people who need these books just canā€™t afford it.

So, I will take my royalty check of $95.02 and use it to mail out more complimentary books to craniofacial clinics, support groups and libraries.

The 12 thank you messages I received made it all worthwhile.
I donā€™t have the backing of network TV or a huge publishing company to bring my books to the instant attention of the public.

Instead, I will continue to put one foot in front of the other. I will continue to persevere. And, I will continue to support the craniofacial differences community.

 

simon says stand up for the little guy

 

The books carry a universal message for everyone. Be accepting. Extend your hand to others. Letā€™s lift people up, and extend our hand to others.

 

simon says stand up for the little guySmile with Simon and be kind!

Simon says exclusion is a form of bullying

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2017

Simon says exclusion is a form of bullying

Exclusion is a form of bullying and needs to be talked about. To not be included, to not be chosen, to not be invited, to be left alone. Exclusion comes in all forms.

Yes, words hurt. Being made fun of is the worst. But for me, being excluded is far worse. Growing up, I dreaded gym class. There were always ā€˜Captainsā€™ and they had to choose who was to be on their team. One by one, they would pick their choice. I was always the last one to be picked. Grade school dances-absolutely dreadful. Back in the day, we had ā€˜dance cardsā€™. Girls would sit on one side and the boys would sit on the other side. The boys would walk up and down the girls side and pick someone to dance with. The boys had to sign the dance card. For me, I would sit there and watch others dance and my ā€˜dance cardā€™ never had a name written on it. Recess-time to go out for an hour and play. I would always choose the swing. I would swing up and down and watch the cluster of kids playing catch or tether ball. When I would get off the swing, Iā€™d head to the monkey bars and try and play with the kids. Suddenly, they all ran away and started playing at another part of the playground. Now, I donā€™t know if I was excluded because I had a cleft lip, my nose was crooked, my ears stuck out from my hair or I talked a little funny. But, Iā€™m pretty sure that is why I was left alone. I was different.

I had a secret Santa in 3rdĀ Grade. But, while all the other kids found presents on their desks, my desk had nothing on it. I remember looking down and praying that I could become invisible. Maybe the person was sick that day or maybe they forgot it was the day we were exchanging gifts. But, for me, it felt personal and it made me sad.

Exclusion just didnā€™t happen in grade school. It happened in high school and in college. And, it continued to happen in my professional career. Unfortunately, it still happens today. However, I am older and I hope wiser. It still hurts but not nearly as much. After being on this earth for over 55 years, I learned to cope. To deal with it. I surround myself with people who lift me up. People who like me for who I am. Itā€™s a mutual respect and love for each other. Few people are in my inner circle and that is exactly how I like it. I know I can count on them and they can count on me-in times of struggle and disappointments but also in times of celebration and success. We embrace our differences. We accept one another.

I was never a popular kid in school. I was always chosen last. I was the one who never got invited to parties. I was the one who never had a boyfriend. In high school, I would attend ā€˜sock hopsā€™ and would just stand at the side watching people get invited to dance or to pulled in to join a group dancing. In college, I went to ā€˜Catholic Alumniā€™ dances because, well, thatā€™s what you did. My parents gently encouraged me to go. And, so, I went. But, again, I faced exclusion. I could not even get a guy to talk to me, let alone ask me to dance.

Iā€™d come home and my parents would anxiously see if I had a good time and I would just meekly say I did. But, in all honesty, it was dreadful.

Now I look back at high school and laugh. I laugh because, I had a silver front tooth where my cleft was. I guess, back then, that was the only thing solid enough to pull my braces. I would smile and this silver tooth would blind you when you looked at me. My God, of course, I didnā€™t get asked to dance or have a boyfriend. I looked freakish. Picture this, I was tall for my age so I stood above the rest. And, I had this misshapen nose, scar down my nose to my lip, braces and was not pretty compared to my classmates.

I had a great sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. I used my sense of humor to pull people in. I may not have been the most beautiful person on the outside. And, that was ok. My parents and brothers and sisters made me feel loved and safe. They lifted me up. They tried to protect me so I would not get hurt. But, they also pushed me out the front door and wanted me to experience life with all of its ups and downs. They helped define the person I am today. They always included me and because of that I always felt supported. Our house was a safe place. A place that you could shed your tears and vulnerabilities. A place where there was unconditional love. It was also a place where I always had friends. My brothers and sisters were my first friends. They taught me about life.

I was also very fortunate in that I had become friends with a girl in grade school-Karen Walsh. She never made me feel different. She included me when she was going to a party or to go bike riding. Simple things. But they meant the world to me. Through Karen, I met and became friends with her friends. Thankfully, they also accepted me and included me whenever they would go roller skating, ride their bikes or go to the mall.

In high school, I had to meet new friends because Karen and my other friends went to a different high school. I remember the day when I met Pauline Rahr. We were in German class freezing because Sister Marie Barbara had the window wide open in the middle of winter. I was goofing around and our eyes met. She was laughing as well. And, well, an instant friendship developed. Pauline got me. She got my sense of humor and always made me feel good about myself.

I went to an all-girls Catholic High School. Beautiful, over achieving, popular girls all trying to be the class President. There were ā€˜klicksā€™ and that was to be expected. I just wanted to survive and get through four years of being surrounded by drama queens, cattiness, and bullies. Yes, bullies. I was made fun of. I was also excluded. But, I was able to form some wonderful friendships with girls who were genuinely nice. They liked me and I liked them. We formed a solid bond. A bond of accepting each other for who we were-our flaws and our differences. But, also, our inner beauty. Donna Wilk, Shannon Sullivan and Pauline Rahr-thank you for the gift of your friendship.

Something happened to me in high school and it carried me through the rest of my life. I became secure in who I was becoming. I accepted who I was. I became confident. I liked who I was and became comfortable in my own skin. I owe this to my wonderful, supportive family and close friends.

In Nursing school, I met two wonderful people. Jean Klein and Mary Osterberger. We were in the same boat. We were paddling towards the same goal and that was to survive nursing school and become a Nurse. We had fun along the way. We laughed at our failures and supported each other when we didnā€™t pass a test. We were there for each other. And, boy did we celebrate when we passed the test and was able to move on to the next nursing class.

As a nurse, I also met and became friends with some terrific women. Karen Modica was someone who I clicked with. We worked 12 hour nights together and as we fed the babies, we would talk. Really talk-about life, hardships, hopes and dreams. As a Traveling Nurse, I met Sherry Tackett. A free spirit. A woman who opened my eyes to so many new and wonderful experiences. And who taught me it’s ok to be different.

I am in my mid fifties.Ā I have decided to take off my seat belt. Time to take off my training wheels. I am ready to forge into unchartered waters. Iā€™ve never written a book, or a blog, let along write lyrics to a song. But, I feel like I have a voice. A positive, powerful voice. It takes courage to do the right thing. It takes support from your family and friends to support you and your dreams. But, what have I got to lose? Nothing really. There is so much bullying going on today. So much exclusion. Who are we to think that we are better than someone else? Who gives us the right to be mean to someone? To make fun of them? To decide they should not be invited to sit with you at lunch or being asked to come to a party?Ā  I am, by no means perfect. I am no angel. Ā I have made mistakes along the way. I have treated people unfairly. But, as Iā€™ve gotten older, I look around and see how divisive we have become.

Thankfully, I did not grow up in the age of social media. There were no Iphones, blogs, Facebook postings, on line dating or Twitter accounts. Just the good old land line phone, TV with 7 stations, a doorbell, and you better be home for family dinner at 6. There was no caller ID. There were cameras that took film and you had to bring it with you if you thought you were going to take pictures-usually for a vacation. We had bikes and we walked everywhere. We knew our neighbors and the names of everyone on the block. We had pay phones. We wore the same clothes and there were no designer labels. There were no reality TV shows. Or, rolling ticker tapes that would play at the bottom of the news station to give nonstop information as to what was happening in the world. We had encyclopedias. There was no Google or Yahoo to look things up. You went to the library instead. You took a typewriting class in school and learned how to type on a typewriter with paper and make carbon copies. There was no Apple or Dell computers. You learned how to write in cursive. You used flash cards to help you learn how to count and multiply. Toys were simple-play dough, crayons, easy bake oven, and board games like Monopoly. There was one type of dog food for your dog-Alpo. There was usually one grocery store that you would go to. Folgers or Maxwell House was the only coffee to choose from. There were no Starbucks or fast food chains at every corner. There were no supersize drinks or food options. There were no fat free, sugar free, grain free foods.

Times do change. There are advances in technology. Both scientific and medical advances. Specialists to treat multi-faceted problems associated with facial differences as well as other medical conditions. We have so many choices in what we wear, shop, eat, vacation, work, or major in at College. So many choices. Maybe too many.

But, some things donā€™t change. Being a respectful, trustworthy, loving human being will never go out of fashion. Recognizing that one person can make a difference in someoneā€™s life. A positive impact. A simple smile, an invitation to sit with you at lunch, opening the door for someone-common courtesy. Remembering to include someone instead of not inviting them because of your own selfish reasons. Saying kind words and standing up for yourself and others when you have been wronged. Having a voice and using it. These things make us great. They feed our soul and keep our heart happy. We were not placed on this earth to tear people down. We are here to make a difference. To connect rather than to disconnect. To hug and embrace someone instead of pushing them down by our words or actions. Or, by excluding them.

I canā€™t change anyone from acting badly. I can only be accountable for my own actions. I choose to surround myself with family and friends who share the same vision. I still stay close to the friends I made in grade school, high school and in nursing. They know me. We have a history together. I know their family and they know mine. Weā€™ve had our ups and downs. But, we know we are there for each other-always.

I can share my message of being kind to one another and walk the walk. Bullying and exclusion is not the way to go. It makes for a very hurtful society. We are better than that. Letā€™s join forces and lead the days ahead with the theme of ā€˜doing the right thingā€™. If you do that, you wonā€™t have any problems sleeping at night. You will be surrounded by good people and you will have a happy heart that smiles. So instead of exclusion, let’s practice inclusion. Yes, we are all uniquely different. And, that is what makes life so wonderful. Let us set the right example, so children follow along in our footsteps. One person can indeed make a differencešŸ˜Š

Buy Smile with Simon & Simon and the Buddy BranchĀ Books! A Purchase Includes a Donation to Support OurĀ Facial Differences Community!

Simon says we are all different and we wouldn’t want it any other way!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2016

Simon says we are all different and we wouldn’t want it any other way!

And so, another year is coming to an end. It’s amazing to look back and see how quickly the year went by.

No one knows what the future will hold. However, I think it’s important to have gratitude fill your heart. We have so many blessings. So many things to be grateful for. Ā Sure, we all suffer disappointments and setbacks. That is part of life. But it is so very important to surround yourself with positive, nurturing people that will lift you up.

I’m a member of many Facebook support groups for people born with facial differences. There is a common thread in each of the groups-fear, uncertainty, and lack of knowledge of organizations out there that can offer financial and medical assistance for people born with facial differences.

There is also a bond amongst the groups. Support, hope, and love for people looking for anyone who has walked in their shoes. Through social media we are able to connect instantly to one another. How cool is that!

When I was growing up we used to have “pen pals”. But now, we have Facebook, so instant, magical connections can be made. All it takes is one positive post to lift someone up. One special emoji chosen in response to a vulnerable post.

So, in 2017, I’m going to make more of an effort to “connect” with people. Complete strangers who just want their voice to be heard. Someone to fully understand what they are going through. Fears, anxiety, dreams, sharing special milestones-all through writing it down for anyone in the group to read. Knowing that it is a safe place. A place where complete strangers will lift you up, cheer you on, and pray for your well being.

Sure we were born different. But, you realize we are all different. Yet, we all just want to be loved and accepted for who we are. Let kindness be our guiding light. Reach your hand out and see how much you get back in return. It will make your heart smile and a huge smile will come upon your face.

Come smile with Simon and see the difference it makes in you and others. Let’s continue to lift people up instead of knocking them down. Let’s continue to support one another. And, let’s start each day and end each day with gratitude. Each of us can make a difference. A positive difference in this world!
Happy and healthy 2017 to all of you. Can’t wait to see what this year brings. I know it will be a great year to be alivešŸ˜Š

Buy Smile with Simon & Simon and the Buddy BranchĀ Books! A Purchase Includes a Donation to Support OurĀ Facial Differences Community!

Simon says don’t give up hope. Persevere and move forward

SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2016

Simon says don’t give up hope. Persevere and move forward

Simon says don’t give up hope. Persevere and move forward

I sent out numerous emails to publishing companies to see if they would read the draft of my children’s book and possibly be interested in publishing it.

Of all the emails I sent out, I only received a hand full back saying that the publishing company does not accept outside manuscripts. They only look at manuscripts from literary agents.

I was in the kitchen and said to Colleen, “I give up. No one is even interested in my book.” Colleen looked at me in surprise and said, “boy, you give up easily.”

She went on to say that actors and actresses go on auditions several times a day and get rejected all the time. She also said that I need to look at all the people out there looking for a job. They get rejected all the time.
I listened carefully and told her she was so right.

So, I dusted myself off, and reached out to an illustrator saying I was going to move forward with my book. I signed the contract and sent her a check to get the sketches started.Ā 

And so, while I was in New York, I stopped in at Simon & Schuster. I talked to the guard, showed my drivers license and asked if I could possibly meet with someone at Simon & Schuster regarding my children’s book. He took me aside and told me to go to the library and look up literary agents. He told me the only way to get someone to look at my work is to have my literary agent submit it. I told him, “I am my literary agent.” He nicely showed me the door.
Well, I just had to try! You just never know…

So, I am going to keep on knocking on people’s doors. I am going to continue Ā to share my story with others. I am going to keep the faith. If all else fails, I will self publish it myself. I believe in my book. I believe in the positive message for those that read it.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!

Buy Smile with Simon & Simon and the Buddy BranchĀ Books! A Purchase Includes a Donation to Support OurĀ Facial Differences Community!

There are wonderful people in this world

SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2016

There are wonderful people in this world

Simon says there are some wonderful people in the world. I asked for help and I received it. And, I received more than I expected.

It was fate that I met Mary Murphy -concierge at Omni Hotel in New York. I asked if the hotel could donate toiletries to the Smile Train. This was after Deb Silver, Manager of Donor Relations at Smile Train said she was starting to put a program together so that children would have little kits filled with toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, and shampoo. These kits are to be handed out to the kids after they have their cleft lip Ā and/or surgery.

I talked with Mary about the need and she said she would see if Omni would donate on a monthly basis some toiletries to the Smile Train. Mary was also going to spread the word at area NY hotels to see if they also would donate toiletries to be given out to the children after they have their surgery.

9

Wow. I was speechless. I talked with Mary about the need and she went over and above to see if these items could be donated by Omni and other NY hotels.

Deb Silver, Ā also told me she was looking for a NY hotel to donate a hotels stay for a new group starting at the Smile Train for Young Professionals. Deb told me she was having a hard time finding a NY hotel to step up. Again, Mary to the rescue. I told the need to Mary and she worked her magic. The Omni will be donating a hotel stay to the Smile Train.

And, then I met Arlaine. She was my room attendant during my stay. Her smile lit up the New York skyline. I told Arlaine that I was going to the Smile Train Headquarters and she gave me the best hug ever! I took the extra soaps, shampoo, mouthwash, etc that I did not use and brought it to the Smile Train Headquarters. Each morning, Arlaine would greet me with a huge smile.

I made friends with both these women. They shared in my desire to help others and they were so happy to do so. I will be keeping in touch with both these women. They were angels. So willing and happy to help.

And, the Smile Train was so very appreciative.

Sometimes, when you least expect it, people pleasantly surprise you. Mary and Arlaine are my heroes. Their generosity helped others. Their smiles made others smile. And, it also made my heart smile.

Each and every one of us can make a positive impact on others. Even though I live in Chicago and Mary and Arlaine live in New York, we will be forever friends.

Deb gave me two Smile Train bags filled with a notebook and pen to give to them as a thank you for their generosity. I’m sure when they open the bag, they will smile and remember how a smile can change the world. And, one person can make a difference!

Buy Smile with Simon & Simon and the Buddy BranchĀ Books! A Purchase Includes a Donation to Support OurĀ Facial Differences Community!

Don’t take no for an answer. There has to be a reason why and a cure for children born with cleft lip and/or palate

MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2016

Don’t take no for an answer. There has to be a reason why and a cure for children born with cleft lip and/or palate

I was just sent a DVD by The Smile Train to review their videos and provide feedback. They wanted my opinion on what documentaries I liked, etc. So, today I watched about 8 videos/documentaries on children born with cleft lip and/or palates.
After watching these videos, I asked myself, why is there no cure?
The Smile Train completed surgery on overĀ 1 millionĀ people.Ā 1 million people since 1998!
One of the videos said that India hasĀ 35,000 patients each yearĀ that are born with a cleft lip and/or palate.Ā 35,000 babies born in India each year with a cleft lip and/or palate.
The Smile Train, Operation Smile, Mercy Ships, etc have done a wonderful job providing surgery for these children and young adults.
However, everything that I have read, there isĀ noĀ definitive cause as to why someone is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. It may be due to maternal diet, genetics, or environmental conditions.
Seriously, in today’s age of technology and medical advancements, no one has found the root cause? No one?
No pregnancy registry has been created that connects the dots?
Ā The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy.Ā Could it be as simple as giving women folic acid supplements during the first 3 months of pregnancy when the lips are formed during this time?
Sometimes you need someone from the outside to ask the simple question of why these children continue to be born with a cleft lip. Has anyone taken the time to document the data and review it in hopes of coming up with a cure? Ā Have we forgotten about this huge global problem?
Maybe I’m naive, but it can’t be this hard to find the exact reason why children are born with cleft lip and/or palate. I’m 55 years old and was born with a cleft lip and palate. If, one Foundation treated 1 million patients since 1998, then there must beĀ millionsĀ of people globally that have been been born with cleft lip and/or palate.
I’m watching the news about the Zika virus and theĀ first caseĀ of microencephaly was reported.Ā Zika can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. This can result in microencephaly,Ā severe brain malformations, and other birth defects. The Zika virus is on every news channel and newspaper. People are thinking of boycotting the Olympics in fear of getting the virus.
In January 2016, the United StatesĀ CDC issued travel guidance on affected countries, including the use of enhanced precautions, and guidelines for pregnant women including considering postponing travel.Ā Other governments and health agencies also issued similar travel warningsĀ advising women to postpone getting pregnant until more is known about the risks of the Zika virus.
Conversely, this is what is on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website regarding cleft lip and/or palate.
CDC continues to study birth defects, such as cleft lip and cleft palate, and how to prevent them. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about ways to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
If someone is out there that wants to find a definitive reason why children continue to be born with cleft lip and/or palate, please reach out to me. I am willing and able to help.
Won’t you please join me in trying to find a solution to this huge problem that continues to affect thousands of children each year.

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