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"A man has never stood as high as when
he has knelt down to help a child."
~Anonymous

 

ALL proceeds from the Cher Convention Foundation 
go to the
Children's Craniofacial Association (CCA).
Cher is the National Spokesperson for CCA.

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 craniofacial conditions.

         
Cher and Brielle             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 family physicians.

An equally 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


 


CCA
A family support organization recognizing that one's beauty
- comes from within.

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:

Children's Craniofacial Association
13140 Coit Rd., Suite 307
Dallas, TX 75240

contactCCA@ccakids.com

972-566-5980     800-535-3643
214-570-8811 Fax

www.ccakids.com

The Convention staff is aided by Charlene Smith, Executive Director, of the Children's Craniofacial Association, and has worked with CCA since it first began in 1989.

 

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This page was last updated:  Wednesday, August 20, 2008.

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