Cleft Courage Bears Provide Comfort to Patients

The Duke Cleft and Craniofacial Center was recently chosen to partner with the American Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Association (ACPA) to distribute GUND teddy bears to cleft and craniofacial patients who visit the center.

A distinguishing feature of the Cleft Courage Bears is a stitched (repaired) cleft lip designed to bring comfort to cleft patients who may feel anxious about their facial differences. So far, the bears have been a hit with patients.

"We give the teddy bears out in our clinic, which has been very popular and makes the kids feel special," says Carlee Jones, MS, CCC-SLP, Duke Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Team Coordinator. "The children are thrilled to receive the bears and take the bears to their different appointments with the team members."

The Duke center was chosen out of 50 applicants to give ACPA Cleft Courage Bears to their patients. The initiative has enabled the cleft care team to provide additional educational information and resources to patients.

"It is something our team is proud of because we were chosen for our teamwork and excellence. It has been an effective way for the ACPA to connect with our families and provide them with further support and resources."

-Dr. Jeffrey Marcus, Director of the Duke Cleft and Craniofacial Program

Cleft lip and palate is a common treatable birth defect. Each year in the United States, approximately 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or palate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with a cleft lip and/or palate may have problems with feeding and speaking and may develop dental issues, ear infections, and hearing loss.

Care for patients with cleft lip and/or palate is life-long, beginning in infancy through early adolescence and into adulthood. The multidisciplinary team at Duke includes plastic and craniofacial surgeons; oral surgeons and orthodontists; ear, nose, and throat specialists; audiology and speech therapy professionals; and clinical social workers among others. The goal of treatment aims to provide long-lasting results with as few surgeries as possible.

Cleft patients who received Courage Bears

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Repair

If your child has a cleft lip and/or cleft palate, you want an experienced and compassionate medical team to provide care at every stage of your child’s development. Our team of specialists uses the latest treatment options to minimize how many procedures your child will need. Our goal is to give your child the best outcome possible, with results that last a lifetime.