Whether she is in a dance outfit or a soccer uniform, you will know who Lila Barron is. She’s the spunky girl beaming with energy and confidence―and oh, that smile! “There is no shyness there,” says her father Josh Barron. “Sometimes we have to pull in the reins,” he adds with a chuckle.
Amy Barron was 20 weeks into her pregnancy with the couple’s third child when they were told Lila had a cleft lip, or a separation of the upper lip. At birth Lila was also diagnosed with a cleft palate, an opening in the roof of the mouth. Approximately 1-in-700 children are born with this condition. The Evansville family researched their options and chose to seek care at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, which operates one of the oldest and largest cleft and craniofacial programs in the country. “We were willing to go anywhere, but ultimately decided she would get the best care at Riley,” says Josh.
“Children with clefting of the lip and palate can suffer from breathing, orthodontic, social and speech problems,” says Riley Plastic Surgeon Sunil Tholpady, M.D. “The prognosis is very good with therapy and surgery.” Lila was part of a study led by Riley Pediatric Dentist LaQuia Vinson, DDS, to test a nasal elevator and a product called DynaCleft. The devices help align the cleft prior to surgery. “Lila’s parents were committed to weekly visits so I could adjust it as she rapidly grew like infants do,” says Dr. Vinson. “Riley is proactive which allows them to offer the best, cutting-edge care,” Josh says.
After two successful surgeries at Riley, Lila is now living a normal life as she approaches age 6. The Barrons show their gratitude by sharing Lila’s story at Riley fundraising events and donating loyally to Riley Children’s Foundation. As Josh says, “Riley doesn’t just treat the patient, they treat the entire family.”
Did you know? The Riley Children’s Foundation philanthropic group Women for Riley provides vital funding for DynaCleft tape and special feeding systems for children with cleft lip and palate. These items are expensive and often not covered by insurance. “We appreciate what the Women for Riley has been able to provide for our patients over the years,” says Riley Pediatric Dentist LaQuia Vinson, DDS.