EDITORIAL: Cleft Clinic deserving of special recognition

Most have not heard of the numerous genetic conditions and as a result specialists for them are few to find. Jane student was born with a cleft lip and pallate, and as a result has tooth agenesis, and hearing problems. When born with certain genetic conditions care is much more specific and specialized. Great Falls recognized that and made sure they would do their part in providing accessible care for those in the town.

Twice a year, in May and August, the Montana Plastic Surgery Center holds a Cleft Clinic. At those Cleft Clinics, specialists for all sorts of conditions are provided free of charge — Dieticians, Audiologists, Speech Pathologists, General Practitioners, Plastic Surgeons, Orthodontists, Dentists, and Therapists. Having all of those specialists there really provides local families with the support they need. That support is important to these families, as no one knows what they’re going through so the help of their doctors and town is meaningful to them.

The Cleft Clinic provides amazing benefits for all sorts of families, including patients who live far away from Great Falls, especially in the surrounding rural areas with low populations. Families who may not have the money to regularly see these specialists and those who are new to having a child with medical conditions, can use the assistance. That is why the Cleft Clinic is such an amazing opportunity that the city of Great Falls offers up to those who need it.

Kids who have experienced the Cleft Clinic shared that they have awesome memories from going. They said they get to see the same doctors each year, so as patients go they build a special bond. There’s also a toy chest that they can pick from when they’re done with all their appointments that was really a highlight of the day when they were younger. It’s truly an awesome privilege for all those involved, and Great Falls should be proud they are providing their town with such a vital resource.

Not enough acknowledgement goes to those specialists for giving their time to these clinics with no motivation. It’s heartwarming to see the doctors going out of their way to support these families through the unknowns and the tribulation. So be proud of your town and its doctors for the Great Falls Cleft Clinic.