Here is an article I recently wrote for your Daddy's newsletter:
"Having a newborn in the NICU and with complex medical issues was much different than what we had been used to with Carter’s healthy brother and sister. It wasn’t very often that we would hear somebody say something positive about our little guy. There was a lot of negative…a lot of focus on the things that he couldn’t do…on the things he wouldn’t do. Of course, we always ALWAYS fought for Carter, and fought to stay on the positive side of things. We loved HIM for being HIM.
Surgeries for cleft lips and palates aren’t always for cosmetic reasons. Some of these babies have a hard time creating suction to eat, and Carter was one of those babies. He had to have a G-Tube placed to give us a way to feed his tiny body.
One day we had to go to a class to learn about how to take care of the G-Tube. The class was full of several couples, most of whom had premature babies who were having trouble with feeding. During that class, one of the moms asked us if our son was a preemie too. My husband answered no, and told her that our baby had a cleft lip and palate which made it hard for him to eat. It was at this point that the nurse teaching the class (whom we had never met before) spoke up and said “and he is the CA-UTEST baby EVER!” We were surprised because it seemed as though this nurse had visited a lot of babies, but Carter had made an impression on her. She proceeded to tell us that her daughter was also born with a cleft lip, and she had just completed a mission for a charity named Operation Smile. This was the first time that somebody had given Carter a compliment without really knowing him. This was the first time that we began to see that we weren’t alone in this part of our journey. This was the first time that we realized the cleft really wasn’t all that scary, or different. This was the first time that we realized that while we had the option to repair his cleft. There are many people in the world without the option. This was the beginning of our love for the charity Operation Smile.
About a week before Carter’s birthday, we found out about a 5K/One Mile Walk that supported Operation Smile. When we saw that it actually fell on his birthday, we knew that we had to participate. A bunch of people from Team Carter met up at Timpanogos Park, and ran or walked to show our support. Even Carter was there being pushed in his stroller and showing off his new smile.
Two months after that perfect day, he passed away and our lives have never been the same.
When the time came for the next 5K/Walk, we knew that we had to keep on keepin’ on in his memory and we participated for the next two years.
This year it is going to be a little different. This year, Team Carter has been put in charge of the race and we’ve decided that since this charity helps kids, we should offer a race for kids. We are proud to announce that the 6th Annual Operation Smile 5K/One Mile Walk & Kids’ K Run will be held on August 10th at Jensen Park in Syracuse. We hope that Carter will be proud, and that we can give kids a new smile with every mile.
If you are interested in participating, or even just making donation, you can find out more information at A Smile For Every Mile