My name is Jeffrey Linton and I’m 12 years old. I was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate and have had 7 major surgeries. My first surgery was when I was only 10 weeks old and it was just a lip adhesion. My cleft was wide enough that they thought it would help my muscles adjust to the repair if they did it in two stages. So although my lip was pulled together, I could still stick my tongue out above it. It looked like I was sticking my tongue out of my nose and I hear that everyone got a kick out of that. My second surgery was at 6 months and it was my most challenging one that year. I had a hard time recovering and my parents had a hard time knowing how much pain medication to give me. But I came out of it with a repaired lip. They fixed my soft palate at 9 months and put ear tubes in to drain all the fluid in my ears. But they waited until I was 3 years old to repair my hard palate. I spent years in speech therapy trying to make sounds that I couldn’t form until I had my hard palate repair. My parents could understand me but no one else could. Since those major surgeries I have had a lip revision, 2 bone grafts and braces. I have heard that kids with cleft lips and palates have many challenges like malnutrition, severe earaches or being bullied. But I haven’t had these problems because of life-changing surgeries. I like to play basketball, soccer and the cello. I have great friends and great support from my family. I want to raise money for Hirsche Smiles to help kids get the necessary surgeries that they need.