Story of the Month: Charlotte Then and Now

Alyssa KirkmanFamily Services, Story of the Month

This month, ACPA Family Services is excited to share the story the Gould Family and their cleft journey, in 2008 and 2017. In 2008, the Goulds found out during and ultrasound appointment that Charlotte would be born with a unilateral cleft lip and cleft palate.  Like many families, they were devastated by the news.

“The moment that I saw the black and white screen displaying my baby’s face, I instantly knew something wasn’t right. My heart sank, the room grew quiet, my dreams seemed to crumble, the ultrasound technician tried to get a better image, the room grew colder, and I looked into the teary eyes of my husband, as my sister asked, ‘What’s on the baby’s lip?’ I didn’t need to hear the answer. I already knew; a cleft lip. Steadily, I listened to the diagnosis with such bravery that I even surprised myself; a unilateral cleft lip with suspected cleft palate.”

The Goulds did what many prospective parents do, they turned to the internet to find more information.

“I dragged myself out of bed and onto the World Wide Web. BIG mistake. Then I found cleftline.org. I stayed up all night long, watching the clock, waiting for morning to call the Cleft Palate Foundation’s (now ACPA Family Services) Cleftline. I was the first call of the day and received the comfort and information that my hurting heart needed so badly. After two more ultrasounds, a neonatologist visit, two meetings with surgeons, and an amniocentesis later, Graham and I were ready to meet Charlotte.”

Ever since Charlotte was born, the Gould family has been involved in fundraising and raising awareness with their team. When Charlotte was 4, her parents let her make decisions on how to raise money.

“She decided, on her own, to continue the tradition we started for her of receiving donations instead of gifts for her birthday and gifting her money to the clinic. She also started her own charitable program called the Charley Bear Hug Program. She purchases Cleftline bears and gifts them to each newborn born in Arizona with a cleft along with CPF (now ACPA Family Services) informational packets and hospital information.”

In 2017, Charlotte Gould was honored by the ACPA Approved Team at Barrow Cleft & Craniofacial Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

“This year, she started a business of sewing & selling ragdolls, gifting half of all proceeds to the hospital to support the Bear Hug Program and an annual family picnic for cleft families. This year, 400 individuals spent the day visiting. For all her efforts and the thousands of dollars she has raised, Charlotte received her own butterfly and was added to the wall of major charitable donors. It was a special day for all!”

Congratulations to Charlotte for all of her hard work, and to the Goulds for their continued work to spread awareness.  For more information, and to read more stories, please visit the ACPA blog.  Support ACPA by making a gift today.