HOUSTON (February 06, 2017)

Cleft reunion Children's Memorial HermannDozens of children with craniofacial anomalies recently convened at a Houston area park to enjoy an afternoon of fun and camaraderie at the 2nd annual social reunion of patients from the Texas Cleft-Craniofacial Clinic at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

The event drew more than 130 people, including current and former patients of the clinic ranging in ages from 2 months old to 15 years old. At least four families attended whose babies have been diagnosed in-utero and are expected to be born in the coming months, giving them an exclusive opportunity to network with other families with experience managing the diagnosis.

“This event offers a unique opportunity for our patients to see and interact with so many other children who look like them and have been through what they have been through. They begin to realize that they are not alone in this world,” said Dr. Matthew Greives, pediatric plastic surgeon at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and McGovern Medical School. “For the parents, the reunion offers a chance to connect with other families with whom they have developed an online kinship through various virtual support groups. It’s a chance for these families to say ‘hello’ to each other for the first time, and thank their supporters for helping them get through their challenging circumstances.”

The reunions are also a special treat for the physicians and nurses, giving them a chance to reconnect with the countless pediatric patients and families who have touched their lives over the years.

“For our team, it’s a celebration,” Dr. Greives said. “Our patients are like family to us and it’s a joy to be able to share in their lives as they continue to grow and thrive long after they graduate from our care.”

Led by Dr. John F. Teichgraeber, a pediatric plastic surgeon at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and McGovern Medical School, the Texas Cleft-Craniofacial Clinic in recent years has been rapidly growing and expanding its suite of comprehensive treatment options for patients in Houston and beyond. The clinic team specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of children with congenital or acquired cleft and craniofacial deformities.