A Winning Smile

It was 20 weeks into her pregnancy, during a routine ultrasound in Niagara Falls, that Monica learned her unborn son Mason might be facing multiple medical challenges that could seriously affect his quality of life. The ultrasound revealed a possible cleft lip, requiring Monica to be transferred to McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Monica and Mason

Monica and Mason

Doctors confirmed that Mason had a bilateral cleft lip and complete cleft palate – his entire upper lip was developing improperly and he was completely lacking a roof to his mouth. As well, Monica was carrying an unusually large amount of amniotic fluid, which can cause pre-term labour. She was placed under the care of the high-risk obstetrics team and labour was induced at 38 weeks.

Born in November 2015, Mason spent his first five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The large openings in both sides of his upper lip and the lack of a roof to his mouth made breastfeeding and the use of regular bottles impossible. Monica and her husband Adam learned how to feed him with a special bottle.

Mason underwent extensive surgical procedures – a lip repair at three months and palate repair in November 2016. The specialized teams at McMaster Children’s Hospital used their expertise to create a new lip and palate for Mason. He also had ear tubes inserted to treat his impaired hearing and he is making great progress working with a speech therapist.

McMaster Children’s Hospital will continue to play a major role in Mason’s life as he receives ongoing care from specialty teams. Each part of his multidisciplinary care at the hospital will help him develop and grow. Despite the challenges, nothing can hide the fact that Mason is a strong young man with a contagious smile who brings joy wherever he goes. The future will keep looking brighter thanks to the care he received at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

In November 2016, Mason was chosen to be the patient ambassador for LCBO’s annual Giving Back In Our Community campaign. From November 27 to December 31 2016, Mason’s story inspired customers at LCBO stores throughout south-central Ontario to make a donation in support of McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation. The 2016 campaign raised more than $590,000, which will help a variety of programs at the hospital, including the Mental Health Program. Partial proceeds from the campaign will provide more complete and holistic care for this vital program, including support for more robust assessment, treatment and management of patients. The remaining proceeds will support investments for much-needed equipment.

McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation thanks LCBO and its customers, as well as Mason and Monica, for their ongoing support.