My pregnancy was a great one and I expected two perfectly healthy babies. When one of my twin boys was born with a rare cranio facial condition called Goldenhar syndrome I was devastated. Harry had no eye, eye socket, ear, nostril and a short jaw. He also has autism and is non verbal. I admit that I found it hard not to feel guilty and responsible but Harry has a way of making you fall in love with him and so he won me over just as he does with everyone he meets.
The past 12 years have been tough. Harry has had numerous operations at Alder Hey in Liverpool including his skull taken apart twice and both he and his twin brother Oliver have dealt with more than many children will ever have to. One of the hardest aspects of Harrys disfigurement is the reaction from others. Children have cried, ran away, called him names, laughed, pointed and whispered. Online, people have called him some truly horrific things, made fun of him and even suggested I should end his 'miserable life'. If only they knew just how incredibly happy my boy is!
More Than A Face is a mission close to my heart - workshops and assemblies delivered in schools to help children understand facial disfigurement better. To see the person behind the face and give them the knowledge and empathy to become a more tolerant and accepting generation.
The assemblies I have delivered so far have had incredible feedback and early statistical analysis of before and after questionnaires shows that 100% of students felt that they would be kinder to someone with a facial disfigurement after hearing my talk!
Funding means that I can deliver my assemblies free of charge to schools who otherwise wouldn't have the budget to invite me into school and share my message. I am also looking at ways of extending assemblies to leave activities or merchandise as a reminder for students.
My boy will always need me but one day I wont be here. More Than A Face is my way of trying to leave a better world for him and all of those affected by congenital or acquired disfigurement. Every face tells a story and every story deserves to be heard. Thank you for helping me tell Harry's and to make the difference this world needs.