Washington boy born with cleft lip and palate is all smiles now

William Stothard who was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate.
William Stothard who was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate.
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You wouldn’t know it to look at him now - but little William Stothard has overcome plenty in his short life.

The Washington two-year-old’s parents knew before he arrived he would be born with a cleft lip and palate after scans revealed the problems.

William Stothard on the day he was born.

William Stothard on the day he was born.

And he was only weeks old when he had to have painful surgery at Newcastle’s RVI to correct the deformities which could have gone on to affect his day-to-day life.

His loving mum Lucy, married to his dad, software developer Matthew, 34, told the Echo: “We were told that there was something wrong before William was born but we didn’t know about the severity of his cleft.

“We were also advised that he could have glue ear and would need grommets or a hearing aid.

“When he was born he had his first operation at 12-weeks-old to repair his lip and sew the two parts of the lip together.

When we took him out after he was born we did get stared at and people were asking me if I had dropped him.

Lucy Stothard

“He then had another operation to repair his palate.”

The procedures were not the only issues William, who has an older brother Benjamin, four, faced.

He also has some hearing loss as predicted by medics, meaning he had to have grommets put inserted as a baby.

He still requires speech therapy and although he is on a normal diet, he can’t have dry food as it can stick to the roof of his mouth.

“When Matthew started nursery, my mam had to pick him up as William was having his grommets put in, then my husband picked him up the next day,” said civil servant Lucy, 33, of Lambton.

“We hadn’t mentioned what had happened to William but the other parents didn’t know anything.
“They said they had no idea he had those kind of problems.”

The family are this weekend hoping to give back to the Cleft Lip and Palate Association for all of the help they have been given by them since William’s birth.

He is still seen by a specialist clef nurse as he continues his treatment.

“When we took him out after he was born we did get stared at and people were asking me if I had dropped him.

“But I always carried around a little leaflet from the Cleft Lip and Palate Association to tell them why it was that William looked that way.”

“Because of William being through what he has being through, I got involved with the charity and I’m not the chairman,” added Lucy.

“We’re doing a sponsored walk in Richardson Dees Park in Newcastle on Sunday.

“We did it last year and managed to raise £2,000 so hopefully we can get near that again.”

For more details about how take part in the walk, go to www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/newcastle-sponsored-walk-tickets-23224522171.