INDIANAPOLIS — Riley Hospital for Children is nearing the finish of its year-end giving campaign, which not only raises money but shines a light on the critical care it helps provide to children and their families.
Veronica Salrin's parents said they knew she'd be born with some challenges after an early ultrasound.
"They believed that she may have a cleft lip. They weren't sure about the palate," said Veronica's mom, Shelley.
Veronica had the first of many surgeries when she was just 3 months old to correct the cleft lip. She will likely have more as she gets older for her cleft palate and other related issues.
"The next one will be to align her upper lower jaw," Shelley said.
"Yes, because I have a severe underbite," Veronica chimed in.
Veronica said she's familiar with the staff and resources at Riley Hospital for Children, but she said it's not just her medical care that's been so impactful. Veronica, a sophomore in high school, said she's always known what it was like to be different.
For Veronica, being able to go to summer camp with other kids that also have cranio-facial differences was life-changing.
"I had never met anyone with a cleft before, let alone like 30 people, and it was just a great experience," Veronica said.
It's called Camp About Face, and unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled the camp the last few summers.
"Just knowing that there are other people who have been through that makes me feel like, 'Oh, this isn't just me being me. There are other people who have been through this and know it.' It seems cliché, but it's true," Veronica said.
While Veronica's mom calls the camp a priceless experience for her daughter, the camp is made possible largely through donations that also help families cover hospital bills.
It's hard to know when Veronica will likely have to have another operation, but she's hopeful she'll be able to see her Camp About Face friends again soon.
Click here to learn more about charitable donations to Riley Hospital for Children.