I was born with a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate which affected both sides of the mouth. Growing up, I frequently had to attend clinics and orthodontic appointments for treatments, so I was always aware that the condition set me apart from my friends. Which is tough at a young age.
People may think that scarring is just an aesthetic issue, but there are further implications. Cleft scarring can affect the way you talk, eat, hear and communicate. There’s the emotional impact of knowing that you are growing up looking different, and the effect of what people say to you. How people respond to your scars has implications on who you form friendships and relationships with, and who you don’t.
I believe that self-acceptance is key to living with scars. You’ll always be aware that you look different, but the more you can accept it and like the way you look, the less you worry.”
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 others identify you. If this can be made easier by reducing or eliminating scars, then this will be hugely beneficial for all those affected.