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Craniofacial Center Celebrates 2nd Annual Patient Picnic

Craniofacial Celebrates Annual Patient PicnicTo celebrate Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month, The Face the Future Foundation (FFF) sponsored its 2nd Annual Patient Picnic for the UI Health Craniofacial Center’s patients and their families July 15. More than 160 patients and family members attended this year’s event, where they enjoyed activities, games, and multiple inflatables, including slide, bouncing castle, bungee run, and basketball. A food truck supplied meals and Italian ice treats, and a DJ kept the energy high throughout the afternoon!

We were very fortunate to have one of our patients read from her craniofacial books — “Smile with Simon” and “Simon and the Buddy Branch.” The patients and their families really appreciated hearing the stories from a fellow craniofacial patient.

Families of a child with a craniofacial condition were delighted to meet other families who also have a child with a similar craniofacial condition. In addition, children who had met at last year’s picnic were excited at this opportunity to reunite and spend time together. In fact, before this year’s picnic, parents and patients who attended last year's picnic were asking staff members and clinicians if some of the same families would be returning again this year. It was very moving to see how families connect to share experiences and support each other.

Craniofacial Celebrates 2nd Annual PicnicWe had several adolescent and young-adult patient volunteers. In particular, one young adult born with cleft lip and palate who has completed his surgeries has joined the FFF and devoted his time to help organize this year's picnic. He shared that because he and his family received immeasurable help and support from the Craniofacial Center, and he feels it is now his turn to give back to the Center. Not only did this picnic provided a unique opportunity for the patients and families, it also provided the staff members and clinicians the opportunity to further connect with our families in a fun setting.

This patient picnic would not have been possible without the support and organization of The Face the Future Foundation and Star Events. Thank you everyone who made this great event possible.