THE proud parents of a battling baby boy who had to undergo surgery at just four months old are now on a mission to boost awareness of a condition affecting one in 700 children.
Joanne Graham, 30 and her husband Alex, 33, found out that their son Isaac Graham would be born with a cleft lip, and possibly his palate too, 20 weeks into her pregnancy.
Isaac, born on July 1 with a cleft lip and a gap in his upper gum, had an operation in November to repair the problem and is now on the road to recovery.
The condition can also lead to hearing difficulties and speech problems.
Isaac is scheduled to have a bone graft operation at around the age of eight to repair the gap in his gum.
Despite his tough start in life, Isaac is full of cheer, and his parents are thankful for the support of staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle and the Cleft Lip and Palate Association.
As part of the family’s ongoing bid to boost awareness of the condition, a charity Christmas concert being held at the People’s Mission Church, in South Shields, on Saturday will raise cash for the association.
Mrs Graham attends the toddler group at the Baring Street church with Isaac and his elder brother Noah, two.
The concert by the church’s silver band will get under way at 7pm.
Entry is free, and refreshments will be laid on, but concert-goers will be asked to contribute to a charity collection being held on the evening.
Mrs Graham, of the Brosley Estate in South Shields, said: “The Cleft Lip And Palate Association provided lots of information and guidance for us and specialist feeding equipment free of charge in the event that we’d need it.
“Cleft lip and palate occurs in around one in 700 births in the UK. However, there is still a lot of ignorance about the condition. We have made it our mission to combat this.
“The church is like a little community, and everyone has been very supportive.”