I was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Growing up, I frequently had to attend clinics and orthodontic appointments, as well as undergoing multiple surgeries. These experiences gave me an awareness that I looked different from my peers at a young age, this is something I have lived and grown with thought my whole life.
People may think that scarring is just an aesthetic issue, but there are many other functional implications to consider. Cleft scarring can affect the way people speak, eat and hear. There are also emotional and psychological implications of looking different, growing up with scarring can impact how people communicate and form relationships with others.
I believe that self-acceptance is key to living with scars. You’ll always be aware that you look different, over time I've learned to accept and like the way I look, this experience is varied and individual to every person affected by scarring.
As a doctor, and someone that has experienced being slightly 'different' first hand, I truly hope that in the future the lives of people with scarring will be made easier. That’s why The Scar Free Foundation’s work is so important. The Foundation has a really clear mission and an objective outlook. Scarring can affect the way you identify yourself, and the way that you interact wit the world around you. If this can be made easier by reducing or eliminating scars, then this will be hugely beneficial for all those affected.