The Children's Craniofacial Association is a national,
501(c)3 non-profit organization, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, dedicated to
improving the quality of life for facially disfigured
individuals and their families. Nationally and internationally, CCA addresses the medical,
financial, psychosocial, emotional, and educational concerns relating to
Mathew and Cher
Cher became involved with the organization after
starring in the Movie Mask in which she played the mother of a
child with a craniofacial condition. Since that time Cher has
supported the organization with her time and talent and has been CCA's
most generous contributor. Cher has seen many of her special friends
grow from children into bright, young adults. She has followed
their surgeries and progress throughout their medical treatment.
Cher often calls children before and after surgeries to offer
encouragement and comfort. Although some of the younger children
do not understand her fame, they do understand a friend who loves them,
cares about them, respects them and treats them like the valuable
children they are.
Most of the kids are born
disfigured, but there are other causes such as accidents
and cancer that cause facial deformities. CCA's primary
focus is to make sure that the kids get the best possible
medical care. There are great surgeons who can perform
amazing operations to correct many of the conditions, but
they are often hard to find. CCA provides a referral
service for families. They are the only organization
providing that service and an important part of their
mission is to conduct an outreach program to let medical
professionals know that such a service even exists. They
also publish informational brochures on the major
craniofacial anomalies. These publications provide more
information than families can usually obtain from their
important part of their mission is psychological support.
The toughest thing most of the kids have to face is the
isolation that accompanies the condition. One child's
parents felt it was very important to mainstream their
daughter, and send her to public schools. They never
thought it was right for her to hide. But it was tough.
No one would sit with her on the school bus. She
had only a very few friends. Mostly she was shunned, and
not just by the kids. For example, she wanted to join a
girl scout troop and the troop leader told her, "No,
dear, I just don't think you would fit in." CCA
provides support for these kids and their families by
letting them know they are not alone. The disfigured kids
have the roughest time, but their parents, and siblings
also deal with a lot of very hard issues. They also feel
the cruelty and isolation, even within their own
families. There are couples that no longer have contact
with the rest of their families because they have a
disfigured child. The families simply don't want anything
to do with them. Facial disfigurements strike some at a
very deep psychological level.
One of the
greatest things that CCA does is sponsor a family retreat
each year for the kids and their families. For some
children, it is the highlight of their year. The retreat
is simply amazing. There is an extraordinary sense of
relief that the kids have when they are with other kids
with similar problems. It's as if they can finally relax.
They are absolutely giddy. It's a similar experience for
the parents. They sit up late at night talking about
things that only they can understand. Many parents get
more support out of these sessions than any medical
professional, psychologist, priest, rabbi, or minister
can ever provide. It's also an incredible time for the
siblings. It's particularly important for the adolescent
brothers and sisters. They have to deal with a lot in
their schools and communities. They can honestly talk
about the anger and other emotions they legitimately have
because of their disfigured brother or sister. The major
problem that CCA faces regarding the retreat is providing
some financial assistance to families so that they can
attend. Because of medical costs, most families are
financially strapped. So many more families could attend,
if CCA could finance their travel.
Written by Tim Ayers
A family support organization
recognizing that one's beauty - comes
CCA's mission is to empower and give hope to
facially disfigured children and their families.
CCA envisions a world where all people are accepted
for who they are not how they look.
For more information please call or write:
13140 Coit Rd., Suite 307
Dallas, TX 75240
The Convention staff is aided by Charlene Smith, Executive Director, of the
Association, and has worked
with CCA since it first began in 1989.
This page was last updated:
Wednesday, August 20, 2008.
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