Author: Jessica Cerretani

Taking on the world: Lonnie Lu’s experience with laryngeal cleft

laryngeal cleft repair
Lonnie Lu and her mom at Boston Children’s Center for Airway Disorders.

Not every little girl gets a visit from a Disney princess on her birthday, but Lonnie Lu received just such a surprise when Princess Elena stopped by her party last month. Her admiration may go beyond a love of colorful dresses. Minus one evil sorceress and an enchanted kingdom, the character’s tale of strength and resilience might as well be Lonnie Lu’s story, too.

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Nathaniel’s heart: One for the record books

care for congenital heart defect

As 3-year-old Nathaniel Wesley nervously watched the big machine move toward his chest, he spotted a familiar face: It was the cartoon character Barney — in sticker form. “Give Barney a kiss!” his parents urged, and he smiled at the friendly purple dinosaur while the scanner took images of blood flow in his lungs.

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Getting and giving support for cleft lip and palate

care for cleft palate

Jack Dolan came into the world with a laugh. His mother, Erin, was mid-chuckle during labor when he was born — “a really joyful entrance,” she says. Looking down at her new son, she and her husband, Jimmy, breathed sighs of relief. “We took one look at him and thought, ‘He’s beautiful,’” she remembers. “We knew then that everything was going to be okay.”

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Expert insight on cleft lip and palate

Experts answer parents' questions about cleft lip and palate.

Learning that your baby has a cleft lip or palate can be upsetting, but these birth defects are quite common. They occur early in pregnancy when tissue from each side of the head grows together to form the face. If these tissues don’t completely join, the result is a cleft, or gap, on one or both sides of the upper lip. A cleft palate occurs when the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth doesn’t fully come together, leaving an opening between the mouth and nose.

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