Why We’re Here

AboutFace’s mission is to promote and enhance positive mental and emotional well-being of individuals with facial differences and their families through social and peer support, information, educational programs and awareness.

Every year in Canada more than 15,000 babies are born with a facial difference; and over
50,000 Canadians will acquire a facial difference through trauma or illness. It’s estimated that over 1.5 Million Canadians are living with a facial difference, and over 80% will experience mental health issues; yet only 20% will seek professional help.

Living with a facial difference is something you can’t hide. It is a social disability that often
creates barriers to communication, socialization, education, employment and aspirations.
It can be a lonely and overwhelming experience. Affected individuals often face public
ridicule, bullying, staring, humiliation, peer rejection, and social isolation. Unsupported
these actions can affect the mental and emotional well-being of a person, resulting in
depression, withdrawal, anxiety disorders, and in some cases, suicide.

AboutFace offers a wide variety of programs, services and resources designed to
encourage, empower and educate parents, children, adults and allies about the
challenges and opportunities of living with a facial difference.

That’s why if we had to sum up what AboutFace was all about in three words we’d say:

AboutFace ENCOURAGES – We believe knowing you are not alone is the first step in embracing the journey.

AboutFace EMPOWERS – We believe building on strength and character helps develop a sense of purpose.

AboutFace EDUCATES – We believe education is critical to nurturing understanding and acceptance.

AboutFace is a registered charitable organization with Revenue Canada – Registration No. 12676 1410 RR0001, which depends on individual donations, special events fundraising, foundation grants and corporate sponsorship. We do not receive any government funding.

They did it. You can too.

We believe a facial difference should make no difference. No difference to your hopes and dreams. No difference to trying new experiences. No difference to how far you may want to push yourself. That’s why we have a whole program of events that provide a refreshing break from the norm.

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AboutFace Celebrates 25 Years

2010 was a year of celebration for AboutFace! For 25 years, we have aided individuals with a facial difference to experience personal enrichment and growth. Founded in 1985, AboutFace has since grown to be a widely respected organization serving affected individuals at every life stage. AboutFace is the only Canadian charitable organization that provides emotional, peer and social support, resources and educational programs to individuals with facial differences and their families. We seek to increase public understanding and acceptance of people living with facial differences through public awareness and education.

AboutFace Accomplishments

  • 1985

  • AboutFace is incorporated as a charity with Revenue Canada
  • Betty Bednar (Mrs. Elisabeth Ross) is first Executive Director of AboutFace
  • 1988

  • First Corporate Sponsor – Cartier Wines (Vincor Canada)
  • Hotelympiad – First Special Event with CHMS
  • Hosted CBC radio interview to launch AboutFace
  • 1989

  • Published First School Program Resource – We All Have Different Faces
  • Access to Success – Second major event in support of AboutFace
  • 1990

  • First Trillium Grant
  • 1991

  • Opened First office – Edward Street Hired full time staff
  • Opened our North American - Wide800 Toll Free Hotline
  • Opened AboutFace USA, Pennsylvania
  • 1993

  • AboutFace Office moved to Crowns Lane, Toronto
  • 1994

  • Hosted First AboutFace Family Conference, Toronto
  • Hosted First Annual Gala for AboutFace, Toronto
  • 1995

  • Received Max Bell Foundation Grant - $100,000 for new school program
  • 1996

  • Anna Pileggi became the Second Executive Director of AboutFace
  • Launched Unwrapping the Package – New School Program
  • Trained 37 volunteers from across North America on new program
  • Hosted First Family Day with Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto
  • Launched the AboutFace Web site
  • 1997

  • AboutFace moved to Edward Street
  • 1999

  • New Logo is incorporated for AboutFace
  • Second Trillium Grant - $102,000 - Building Bridges in cooperation with the Women’s Health Centre, Women’s College Hospital
  • First Bay Street Hoops – Basketball Fundraiser
  • 2000

  • Paul Stanley becomes Celebrity Spokesperson for AboutFace
  • 2001

  • Released Facing Differences School Program – independent unit
  • 2002

  • Held First Annual Golf Classic
  • Released Building Bridges Guide for Health Care Professionals and Facilitators Manual
  • AboutFace USA moves to Chicago
  • 2003

  • Hosted First Teen Camp, Ontario
  • Published Jessie’s Blessing – storybook for kids about differences and acceptance
  • 2004

  • Released the Jessie’s Blessing DVD
  • Received a sponsorship from the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario to create the Teacher’s Guide for Jessie’s Blessing
  • Hosted First Wine in the Courtyard, Toronto
  • AboutFace USA moves to Nevada
  • AboutFace receives $100,000 donation from Shoppers Drug Mart
  • 2005

  • Hosted First Camp Trailblazers in B.C.
  • National Symposium on Bullying – Ontario and B.C.
  • Released the educational version of Jessie’s Blessing – book and DVD at the New Teachers Conference, Oakville
  • AboutFace Brazil opens
  • 2006

  • Jessie’s Blessing French book is released
  • 2007

  • Scotiabank and Genworth donate $10,000 to establish the AboutFace Scholarship Fund for Youth going to post-secondary education
  • Making Faces book is released – picture book about the treatment journey of cleft lip & palate child
  • Hosted First Global Conference on Facial Differences: Inspiration 2007
  • AboutFace USA is dissolved
  • 2008

  • AboutFace awards First Student Scholarship
  • Hosted two new camps – Newfoundland and Nova Scotia
  • First Leap of Faith – Skydiving event
  • 2009

  • Released Facing It Together – book and DVD for new parents
  • Hosted new camp in Manitoba – Now five camps across Canada
  • Received the Special Friend of Canadian Dentistry Award – CDA
  • Third Trillium Grant – automating volunteer development and training

Latest News & My Story

It’s always been our aim to make AboutFace feel like a community. Somewhere to share your trials and tribulations as well as celebrate good news.

It really is your platform to tell us what’s on your mind and in the process, help the AboutFace community by providing people with real, first person insights into the challenges you might have faced.

That’s why we are proud to share with you stories from some of our most inspiring members in the “My story” section. And provide you with news and updates on all things AboutFace is making happen out there right now.

Our Community

AboutFace members come from all facets of the community and are actively engaged in our programs, services and events.

Our core membership consists of individuals with a facial difference and their families: children, youth, adults and parents of children with a facial difference.

Other AboutFace supporters are health care professionals, educators, corporations and the general public.

Membership is free and includes our bi-monthly newsletter

Join AboutFace!


AboutFace is open Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST. We have an after hours voice message system. Please call, write or email us with your questions, queries and comments. We are here to support and assist you.

  • Contact Us
  • AboutFace
  • 51 Wolseley Street
  • Toronto, ON, M5T 1A4
  • Phone: 416-597-2229 or
    1-800-665-FACE (3223)
  • Fax: 416-597-8494
  • Email:


Board of Directors


Bobbi-Jean White, Chairperson
Partner, Enterprise, KPMG Enterprise LLP

Dan McMullen, Vice Chair
Sr. Program Manager, Canadian Tire

Hartley Lefton, Secretary
Partner, Dentons Canada LLP


Lyle R. Best C.M., A.L.H.C.
CEO, Quikcard Inc

Dr. Michael Bezuhly
Plastic Surgeon, IWK Health Centre

Harry Howie
Retired Social Worker

Kariym Joachim
Clinical Researcher, SickKids Hospital

Jennifer Little, RN MN
Mental Health Nursing

Matthew Milne-Smith
Partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Robert F. Pielsticker
Past Chair
Retired Partner, KPMG

Suzy Stead

Cheryl Strickland
Retired Teacher

Dr. Ilke van Hazel, DDS PhD


Elisabeth (Bednar) Baugh

Donald Triggs
Founding Director

Paul Stanley
Celebrity Spokesperson
Lead Singer of KISS

Dr. Lonny Ross
Winnipeg Children’s Hospital

Annual Reports

*In 2008, AboutFace did not produce an Annual Report, but incorporated the information into the 2009 Annual Report.

If you would like to receive a copy of the Audited Financial Statements, they are available upon request by emailing danielle@aboutface.ca.

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