Davis Walker & Vinay Sadhwani
We are both 12th graders at Leesville Road High School. We originally met in our AP Calculus AB class and immediately kicked it off. We both enjoy playing sports and both currently play soccer for Leesville Road High school's varsity soccer team. Outside of school, we love to play basketball, listen to music, and laugh at TikToks together, just as any other normal high school kids do.
We were inspired to spread awareness about cleft palate and cleft lip due to personal experiences and people close to us that were diagnosed with this genetic condition.
Davis: I was inspired by familial connections. I have a sister diagnosed with cleft lip and cleft palate. She had surgery done by Smile Train when she was one. Then when she was around ten, she had another surgery to close all remaining holes in her palatine process. And just like many others is currently on Invisalign. She has been smiling all throughout and it is a joy every day to have her as a sister. I also have an uncle who had a cleft lip. He also received correctional surgery when he was younger. Now a full-time funny uncle, as he claims, throughout his life he has never let his cleft lip define him.
Vinay: I have a friend (who wanted to remain anonymous) that has also gone through cleft lip surgery. Talking to him, I learned about the mental and emotional struggles of those that have a cleft lip. He told me he often felt embarrassed of his lip, and that he went through a lot of bullying about it when he was in elementary/middle school. He added that he enjoyed parts of the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was wearing masks as he wasn't judged for his physical appearance. I feel like it is my duty to try and help him in any way he can. My friend, nor does anyone else deserve to be defined by cleft lip, cleft palate, or any stigmatized medical condition.
Through personal inspiration, along with information we have learned in creating Clarifying Cleft, we felt inspired and thus aim to spread as much awareness as possible.