For my daughter, Scarlett. While this is my 7th year as an Extra-Lifer, this year in January my daughter Scarlett was born with a cleft palate.
Cleft palate is a birth defect where the roof of your mouth does not properly form, leaving an opening between the mouth and the nose. This was a scary time for us as it was not immediately diagnosed, and she was struggling to drink milk and slowly becoming jaundice and losing weight.
Thanks to her children's hospital, the Janeway Children's Hospital in Newfoundland, Canada, after she is a year old she will receive reconstructive surgery (possibly multiple) to fix the cleft palate. Even with the surgery, she may still have a long road of speech therapy and hearing issues ahead of her, only time will tell.
I've never needed a personal reason to participate, but this year I have one and I hope it inspires more people to participate. While you may have no current connection to a children's hospital you never know when you or someone you love may have need of their services.
Edited by iambrooke_