Hello! I am Alexis from St. John’s, NL, and I just turned 11. I love being active: I do aerials, gymnastics, horseback riding and track, and I’m involved in many school activities. I’m also in our church choir and am both a Scout and a Guide. I know – it’s a lot!
I do face more challenges than a lot of other kids my age because I have a cleft lip and palate. When I arrived in Canada from my birthplace in Kazakhstan, I was undernourished and underweight because of my feeding problems.
I have also had lots of challenges with my speech. My first two palate correction surgeries weren’t successful, and I was already in grade 1 when I had a pharyngeal flap procedure. This surgery has made a big difference, but I have to work hard to be understood sometimes because I’m unlearning the incorrect speech patterns I picked up when I was younger.
Last fall, I attended Family Camp and it was exciting to be with kids like me for the first time. Before that, it sometimes felt like I was the only one with a facial difference.
Ever since Family Camp, AboutFace has been a big part of my life. I took part in Virtual Hangouts and Virtual Camp Trailblazers, and now I’m a member of the Youth Advisory Committee. Our group is working on an anti-bullying presentation for schools so kids can learn what it’s like to have a facial difference.
The main thing I want people to know about how to treat someone with a facial difference is that it’s important to be kind. I know that if they were the ones with a difference, they wouldn’t want people to be mean to them.
I am strong. I am caring. I am loving.
I am one-of-a-kind!