AboutFace

Our Mission is to promote and enhance positive mental and emotional well being of individuals with facial differences and their families through peer and social support, resources, educational programs, and public awareness. Our Vision is to empower individuals with facial differences to find the confidence and courage to live life to the fullest. Our Organizational Values Include: Encourage Knowing you are not alone is the first step in embracing this journey. AboutFace offers support and encouragement through support groups, online and one-to-one peer networking opportunities, when people with facial differences and their families need it most. Empower Building on strength and characte...
Dec 9, 2014

Help kids like Taryn overcome obstacles!

Taryn
Taryn

You’ve never seen an obstacle course like this before!

          Are you ready for the obstacles? Road race. Archery. Scrabble. Leap frog. High ropes course. Playing catch with a greasy watermelon.

          One look at 13-year old Taryn as she prepares for the high ropes course portion of the obstacle course and you can feel her determination. Her eyes flash with confidence as she takes her first courageous step…

          Kids like Taryn who attend our Camp Trailblazers know a thing or two about obstacles. Girls and boys from 10 to 18 who live with facial differences come to our camp for a chance to connect with other kids like them, and to enjoy a camp experience in a safe, welcoming and positive space.

          Today, I’m inviting you to consider helping kids like Taryn overcome obstacles. Together with other AboutFace donors you’ll help us raise funds to send even more kids to camp next year!

          Now let me tell you how your gift will help kids overcome obstacles.

          Our Camp Trailblazers is a life-changing experience for kids with facial differences. We hear from kids all the time who tell us they feel lonely, isolated or bullied because they are different. Our camp is a place where kids can challenge themselves in a safe, supportive environment, and also gain confidence and build resilience.

           And our obstacle course is a perfect example of all the things kids learn at camp. Our road race represents rising to physical challenges, pushing your body and feeling the exhilaration of being cheered on while you achieve your personal best! Archery—and our high ropes course—build a sense of adventure and taking risks. Scrabble represents creativity and expressing yourself. Leap frog requires teamwork, and creates a sense of belonging. And as for playing catch with a greasy watermelon…first of all it’s harder than it sounds, but more importantly, we laugh and share in wonderful silliness!

          Take a moment and imagine Taryn, arms raised in victory as she steps off the high ropes course, feeling like she could conquer any other obstacle in her way!

          Please, hold on to that feeling and make your gift today. You can help us send 125 more kids to Camp Trailblazers in 2015, giving them the chance of a lifetime like Taryn!

Camp Trailblazers
Camp Trailblazers
Taryn Camp Trailblazers
Taryn Camp Trailblazers

Links:

Sep 24, 2014

Meet AboutFace Scholarship Winner Hayley!

Hayley
Hayley's high school graduation

"My involvement with AboutFace and SickKids Hospital have both played a huge part in the development of my character and my future career ambitions. I became a patient at SickKids Hospital soon after birth, as I was born with Bilateral Microtia and slight Goldenhar Syndrome. I've had multiple surgeries for my hearing aid (bone anchored hearing aid) and to have my jaw reconstructed (at SickKids Hospital). As I have spent so much time as this hospital, as well as so many of my close friends and family members, I have been inspired to devote as much of myself as I can to give back. I have just completed my first year on the SickKids Council, and got a volunteer position at the hospital for the full month of July. I am incredibly excited about volunteering at the hospital every morning in July as this will be my first experience in the career I hope to have when I am older. I hope that with my past experiences, I am able to find the right ways to help the children at the hospital and inspire them to push on and stay strong. Along with this, I will be working towards my goal career of being a child life specialist (dream job at SickKids Hospital), where I can hopefully inspire and help patients, as well as hopefully provide the same comfort, friendship and trust I received from my child life specialist.

While SickKids Hospital has helped me through my medical struggles, it has also helped me find others like myself, struggling with similar challenges, which has made my journey a lot easier. Along with SickKids introducing me to all these new friends, AboutFace has done this for me as well. I started attending AboutFace events a few years ago, and it has introduced me to so many beautiful friends whom I can related to and share common experiences with. AboutFace has taught me that it’s okay to be different, and that I no longer had to be ashamed because I have my AboutFace family with me. Seeing that there are so many people like myself (as well as those with other differences) has opened my eyes to the fact that not only am I not alone, but through my experiences, I can help others and impact their lives as much as they have for me. Through AboutFace, I have met such incredibly strong people who have inspired me to be strong and share my story with others which has also inspired me to further help others in the future going through struggles similar to my own."

Heyley
Heyley's cheque presentation
2014 Scholarship Winners: Hayley and Michelle
2014 Scholarship Winners: Hayley and Michelle

Links:

Sep 24, 2014

Look at my ears!Katie & Hayley share their stories

Hayley rocking her prosthetics!
Hayley rocking her prosthetics!

Katie and Hayley have a lot in common, they are both young ladies with microtia. They both are members of AboutFace and have attended our Camp Trailblazers programs and both have always been very self-conscious of their ears. I recently came across both of these posts on their personal Facebook pages (obviously I got permission to share this with you) within a week of each other. Hayley had just done a presentation to a group of 120+ on behalf of AboutFace at a fundraising golf tournament and Katie had just come home from a week at Camp Trailblazers. I’d also like to add that Katie took that first picture ever of her showing her ears while at Camp Trailblazers.  

Through their years of involvement with AboutFace both of these young women have developed their confidence and self esteem and are proudly ready to take on the world! Here’s what the girls had to say…

"I have Treacher Collins Syndrome, I have a cleft palate, and I have microtia- which basically means my ears didn't fully develop. I used to hate my ears, I used to be so upset because I wanted to get them pierced like all the other girls. I used to long for ears that I could actually listen to music normally with. I constantly feel like covering my face with my hair, and until now, I've never had a photo of myself with my ears totally exposed, let alone my hair just being in a ponytail. I'm tired of feeling ashamed of my ears, just because they look different. As much as some days they make me want to crawl into a hole, they've also made me stronger. I want to celebrate that, I want to celebrate the fact that I'm unique, I want to celebrate the fact that I've made so many beautiful friendships and that I have a whole family because of my syndrome.
So I'm done. I'm done with people telling me I'm not good enough just because of the way I look. I'm done with strangers on the street pointing and staring. I'm done with the name calling and the negativity. I'm done with feeling like it's my fault I was born the way I was, but because of all the love and support I'm so blessed to have, I now know it isn't.
Really, this post isn't for me at all, 
this is for my beautiful friends from AboutFace, who continually give me the love and support that I could not live without. They are the most hilarious, wise, generous, kind-hearted, and intelligent people you will ever have the honour to meet. But they are also the people who go through so much crap that no one should ever have to go through just because they're different. And I'm sooo very done with that. Let's make different a good thing. Heck, let's make it a great thing. 
Let's celebrate it." – Katie

"I've been waiting a little while to be officially open with this. Throughout August, I was in and out of Sunnybrook Hospital for a very important procedure. I was actually having prosthetic ears made, and these are the final product. There were two options for myself with this procedure. I could either have a surgical procedure for the prosthetics, or I could have these, which stick on with a specific type of glue. The reason I didn't get the surgical procedure is because I feel that permanently ridding a part of my body just because I don't particularly like it will not help me in my journey of self-acceptance. Words cannot describe how excited and thankful I am for my new prosthetic ears " – Hayley

Katie - look at my ears!
Katie - look at my ears!

Links:

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