Families, caregivers enjoy inaugural Plastic Surgery Family Fun Day
Published on Monday, April 24, 2023
By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos By: Lindsay McMurtray/ UMMC Communications
Hundreds of members of the cleft and craniofacial family of Children’s of Mississippi filled the Museum of Natural Science and LeFleur’s Bluff playground area Saturday for a family picnic.
The inaugural Plastic Surgery Family Fun Day was the result of a$3 million donation that created the Stephanie and Mitchell Morris Center for Cleft and Craniofacial Research and Innovation. The event gives pediatric plastic surgery patients and their families a chance to form friendships and enjoy a fun day with their health care team.
“We’ve gathered together with our patients and their families for a day of inclusivity and fun,” said Dr. Ian Hoppe, surgeon-in-chief and leader of the cleft and craniofacial teams at Children’s of Mississippi. “Children with similar conditions can become friends, and so can their parents.”
Patients and their parents greeted their health care team members with hugs before taking in the exhibits at the museum and heading to the playground.
“We’re part of their family,” said Dr. Laura Humphries, assistant professor of plastic surgery, “and they’re part of ours.”
Said Mitchell Morris when the day was envisioned, “We want these children not to feel stigmatized for their differences but to be celebrated for them,” Morris said. “That part is important to me.”
The cleft and craniofacial care teams at Children’s are the only such programs in the state with accreditation from the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. ACPA certification requires access to a multidisciplinary team including surgeons, psychologists, dentists, audiologists, ophthalmologists, social workers, geneticists and genetic counselors, speech therapists and orthodontists.
In the U.S., about 7,000 babies are born with cleft lips and/or cleft palates each year. Craniosynostosis, which is needed when a child’s skull bones fuse together too early, affects one in every 2,500 births and is among the most common craniofacial conditions.
The cleft and craniofacial clinics offer multidisciplinary care so patients can be treated by a variety of experts in one clinic visit.
The Plastic Surgery Family Fun Day offered patients and families a day without thinking of medical care or clinic appointments.
Joining in the fun were Toby and Gabby, the therapy dogs who often visit cleft and craniofacial clinics at Children’s of Mississippi’s Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower.
“Those days are the best days of the week for us and the dogs,” said Debbie Splaingard of Ridgeland. “The children all come out into the hall to pet the dogs.”
Parents gave the Plastic Surgery Family Fun Day high marks. “We’ve enjoyed it,” said Jimmy Reid of Morton, whose son, Landon, has been a pediatric plastic surgery patient for the past seven years. “This is the first time we’ve gotten to meet other families getting cleft care at Children’s.”
Joe and Erica Lazarus of Terry and son Keaton enjoyed the fun and fellowship the morning offered. “We’re already looking forward to next year,” Joe Lazarus said.