Dina's Story, An Austin Cleft Surgery
By Teegan Mullins, when she was 15 years old
"I am 15 years old and was born with a cleft lip and palate. I was adopted at birth and the insurance company refused to accept me or my condition because it was considered "pre-existing". My parents had no where to turn and went to see Dr. Rick Parker, a plastic surgeon and member of Austin Smiles. Dr. Parker reassured my parents that they didn't need to worry and that he would take care of me and immediately started drawing on a napkin what he was going to do and how many years this would all take. My father repeated again that he had no idea how he was going to pay for this and again Dr. Parker said "don't worry about the money; we can take care of her."
That was 15 years ago and here I am. Since the beginning, I have had my lip and palate repaired. I am now in the final stages of orthodontia and wearing braces. I have always wanted to be a marine biologist. And my wish is finally coming true. This last summer I learned how to scuba dive.
Imagine trying to learn that with a hole in your nose? Fortunately, I didn't have to find out. I am able to do all the things I want to do and more because of my great doctor and Austin Smiles. It has not always been easy but for the most part I am able to be who I am. I enjoy attending Austin Smiles parties for patients and getting to visit with other cleft children and exchange and share our stories. It is important to me to be able to provide support to the younger children and reassure them that they too are going to be taken care of by Austin Smiles. Thank you!"