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Mission

The Cleft Palate and Lip Society of Western Australia (CleftPALS WA) was established to provide support, reassurance, and knowledge to parents and families of children with a cleft condition.  CleftPALS WA is a voluntary support group consisting of parents of cleft children, cleft affected adults and professionals who care for cleft conditions.  Our motto is ‘The Sharing Helps’.  We provide support to new families as well as advocating for better health services and research.  We understand the difficulties, heartache and sometimes the shock that comes with having a child with a cleft and are here to help you as best we can. This website seeks to complement the work we do and aims to support those regional families who don’t always have the opportunity to come to a morning tea or visit a contact parent to ask for advice. 

CleftPALS WA provide feeding and post-surgery equipment, breast pumps and other items needed to help you feed your baby, as well as providing support for breastfeeding and expressing. 

CleftPALS WA also assists new cleft-affected families through their contact parent program.  This program assigns a family with an experienced committee member which can be extremely beneficial for families who need a little extra support.  If you would like to be assigned a support parent,  email our Initial Contact Coordinator or text  0416 232 156. 

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Medical care in Western Australia

Western Australia has two surgeons that specialise in cleft lip and palate surgery.  Dr David Gillett and Dr Vij Vijayasekaran are very experienced and dedicated to cleft lip and palate conditions.  The Perth Cleft Lip and Palate Unit has a long and proud tradition of being best practice and world leading pioneers in this condition with a team of professionals who are committed to maintaining the legacy and giving the best of care.  The unit includes dental specialists, ear nose and throat surgeons, speech pathologists, a feeding team, paediatricians and geneticists. 

History

The Cleft Palate and Lip Unit was formed by Plastic Surgeon Mr Harold McComb in the mid 1950’s at Princess Margaret Hospital, joined later by Orthodontist Dr William Brogan.  It was Dr Brogan who in 1971 suggested the mother of a cleft-affected child begin a support group for all of the other parents of cleft-affected children.  Flyers were put up at Dr Brogan’s private rooms and soon there was enough interest to hold the first CleftPALS meeting at his private residence.  Turnout steadily increased to the point where a hall was hired to cater for all the interested people.   

The CleftPALS motto ‘The Sharing Helps’ can be traced back even further to local GPs who were the forerunners of the formalisation of parent support groups.  Recognising the benefit of sharing and demystifying the medical journey, GPs would connect mothers of children with similar health issues, encouraging them to share and ‘pay it forward’. 

Committee

  NEEVA STEPHEN President   Education Officer   T. 0416 232 156 E. president@cleftpalswa.org.au  Neeva's twin sons, Jake and Josh were born in 1997 with bilateral clefts of the lip and palate, at 29 weeks gestation. She went to her first CleftPALS WA morning tea a few weeks after their birth, and has been a part of the committee ever since. She loves what CleftPALS WA does to support individuals, families and medical professionals, and is passionate about educating the community on all things cleft related.

NEEVA STEPHEN
President

Education Officer

T. 0416 232 156
E. president@cleftpalswa.org.au

Neeva's twin sons, Jake and Josh were born in 1997 with bilateral clefts of the lip and palate, at 29 weeks gestation. She went to her first CleftPALS WA morning tea a few weeks after their birth, and has been a part of the committee ever since. She loves what CleftPALS WA does to support individuals, families and medical professionals, and is passionate about educating the community on all things cleft related.

  MARGARET STRONGE-SMITH   Vice-President Contact Parent   Margaret has been involved with CleftPALS since her son Mikey was born with a soft palate cleft in November 2012. Originally from Ireland Margaret works for the WA Dept of Primary Industries and Regional Dev and enjoys cooking and long walks.

MARGARET STRONGE-SMITH
Vice-President
Contact Parent

Margaret has been involved with CleftPALS since her son Mikey was born with a soft palate cleft in November 2012. Originally from Ireland Margaret works for the WA Dept of Primary Industries and Regional Dev and enjoys cooking and long walks.

  KATIE FREEMAN Treasurer   T. 0435 390 633 E. membership@cleftpalswa.org.au  Katie’s son Flynn was born with a cleft palate in 2015. Katie runs her own business which manufactures clothing for local fashion designers.

KATIE FREEMAN
Treasurer

T. 0435 390 633
E. membership@cleftpalswa.org.au

Katie’s son Flynn was born with a cleft palate in 2015. Katie runs her own business which manufactures clothing for local fashion designers.

 
  BELINDA THOMASZ Secretary   T. 0409 372 947 E. secretary@cleftpalswa.org.au  Belinda's son, Oliver, was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate in 2012. Belinda works full-time as an Administrator in the Construction Industry.

BELINDA THOMASZ
Secretary

T. 0409 372 947
E. secretary@cleftpalswa.org.au

Belinda's son, Oliver, was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate in 2012. Belinda works full-time as an Administrator in the Construction Industry.

  MANJUSHA THORPE Newsletter Editor   Manjusha is an engineer whose career has had a strong focus on research and new technologies. Manjusha is particularly interested in research relating to cleft conditions.

MANJUSHA THORPE
Newsletter Editor

Manjusha is an engineer whose career has had a strong focus on research and new technologies. Manjusha is particularly interested in research relating to cleft conditions.

  Carolyn Reduch Equipment Coordinator   T. 0423 744 336 E. equipment@cleftpalswa.org.au  Carolyn's son Aidan was born with hard and soft cleft palate. Carolyn works part-time as a physiotherapist.

Carolyn Reduch
Equipment Coordinator

T. 0423 744 336
E. equipment@cleftpalswa.org.au

Carolyn's son Aidan was born with hard and soft cleft palate. Carolyn works part-time as a physiotherapist.

  CARMEN BOWLES   Contact Parent Coordinator (NOR) Social Media Coordinator   Carmen has a 4 year old son, Declan, who was born with a unilateral cleft lip. She works part time as a waitress and enjoys camping with her family.

CARMEN BOWLES
Contact Parent Coordinator (NOR)
Social Media Coordinator

Carmen has a 4 year old son, Declan, who was born with a unilateral cleft lip. She works part time as a waitress and enjoys camping with her family.

  DEBBIE ZWICKL Contact Parent Coordinator (SOR)   Last child of Debbie's was a girl, born in 2007 with incomplete bilateral cleft lip and palate. Support received from CleftPALS was fabulous at the time and felt she wanted to pay it forward over the years. A busy mum of six children, she is also involved in various volunteer roles, runs an electrical business with hubby and works part time with the Education Department.

DEBBIE ZWICKL
Contact Parent Coordinator (SOR)

Last child of Debbie's was a girl, born in 2007 with incomplete bilateral cleft lip and palate. Support received from CleftPALS was fabulous at the time and felt she wanted to pay it forward over the years. A busy mum of six children, she is also involved in various volunteer roles, runs an electrical business with hubby and works part time with the Education Department.

  IVETTE HERZOG   Website Coordinator Contact Parent   Ivette has been involved with CleftPALS WA since her 2nd child was born with a unilateral cleft of the lip and soft palate in 2014. Ivette owns/runs numerous creative businesses and works with several non-for profit businesses.

IVETTE HERZOG
Website Coordinator
Contact Parent

Ivette has been involved with CleftPALS WA since her 2nd child was born with a unilateral cleft of the lip and soft palate in 2014. Ivette owns/runs numerous creative businesses and works with several non-for profit businesses.

  SHARON FIRTH Social Media Coordinator   Contact parent   Sharon’s daughter Amy was born with a complete unilateral cleft lip and palate. Sharon runs a dog walking business.

SHARON FIRTH
Social Media Coordinator

Contact parent

Sharon’s daughter Amy was born with a complete unilateral cleft lip and palate. Sharon runs a dog walking business.

  KELLY PASCOE   Fundraising Coordinator Contact Parent   Kelly’s daughter, Allie, was born with a cleft of the soft palate in 2003. She joined the CleftPALS WA committee when Allie was 12 months old because she wanted to get involved in some small way to give back. She has held numerous roles on the committee over the years and has enjoyed meeting new people and making friends along the way.

KELLY PASCOE
Fundraising Coordinator
Contact Parent

Kelly’s daughter, Allie, was born with a cleft of the soft palate in 2003. She joined the CleftPALS WA committee when Allie was 12 months old because she wanted to get involved in some small way to give back. She has held numerous roles on the committee over the years and has enjoyed meeting new people and making friends along the way.

  THEA MATTHEWS Memberships Coordinator   Contact parent   Thea’s son Noah was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate in 2015. Thea works part-time as a radiographer.

THEA MATTHEWS
Memberships Coordinator

Contact parent

Thea’s son Noah was born with unilateral cleft lip and palate in 2015. Thea works part-time as a radiographer.

  CATE RAYNER   Contact Parent   Cate was born with a BCLP and has two children Phoebe, 4, who was born with a unilateral clp and Oscar, 1, who also has a bilateral CLP. Due to the strong genetic link, Cate feels she needs to give back to CleftPALS WA. Cate is also a part time teacher at a primary school in Mandurah and also teaches dancing to 4-5 year olds.

CATE RAYNER
Contact Parent

Cate was born with a BCLP and has two children Phoebe, 4, who was born with a unilateral clp and Oscar, 1, who also has a bilateral CLP. Due to the strong genetic link, Cate feels she needs to give back to CleftPALS WA. Cate is also a part time teacher at a primary school in Mandurah and also teaches dancing to 4-5 year olds.

  DANIELLE PAYNE   Contact Parent   Danielle’s daughter Annabel was born with a cleft lip with anterior notch in 2015. Danielle is a Registered Nurse and has specialised in Coronary Care (all about the heart) for Adults. At present Danielle is on Maternity Leave to have her second child due August 2018.

DANIELLE PAYNE
Contact Parent

Danielle’s daughter Annabel was born with a cleft lip with anterior notch in 2015. Danielle is a Registered Nurse and has specialised in Coronary Care (all about the heart) for Adults. At present Danielle is on Maternity Leave to have her second child due August 2018.

Please Note

We are volunteers, not medical professionals.  Any medical information provided by this site is of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional.  All families are asked to check with their surgeon or the clinical team before acting upon any advice and no responsibility is accepted by CleftPALS.