FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Thousands of kids every year are born with a cleft palate, which means multiple surgeries to help fix the birth defect.
Here in the natural state most of those kids end up in the care of Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
In this month’s “Give a Kid a Miracle,” we meet Jax Meredith.
“Even as a 9 year old, he is one of the strongest people I know,” said Megan Meredith, Jax’s mom.
Its all smiles from Jax now, but that hasn’t always been the case.
“It’s hard ’cause I have to have a lot of surgeries,” Jax said.
Its hard for Jax to describe what life has been like having been in and out of the operating room since he was a newborn.
Those same emotions are felt by his mom.
“At 20 weeks we went for the gender ultra sound and we found out he was possibly going to be born with a clef lip or palate,” Megan said.
The CDC recently estimated that each year in the United States, about 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate.
For the Meredith family that diagnosis meant a lot of road trips to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
“Everybody from the people that check you in to the nurses that take the weight and those things they just were so caring and just really took care of us every step of the way,” Megan said.
Jax looks to the positive.
“I feel a little better now that I don’t have a hole in my mouth, hehe,” Jax said.
Despite the long journey still ahead ,the mother-son duo remains positive.
Knowing they’ve got new feet on the ground with the recent opening of Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale gives them reassurance that they hope other families here in Northwest Arkansas feel too.
“When you are at a place like Children’s, you have that team around you that feels like family and you cant help but look around and say if we weren’t a cleft family we wouldn’t have these people,” Megan said.