Sara Heller was 24 weeks pregnant when she and her partner, Chris Eidam found out from an ultrasound that their son Brody has a bilateral cleft palate.
This condition occurs when tissues in the baby’s face and mouth don’t fuse properly — which result to openings and splits on both sides of the mouth. To add, he has a rare chromosome deletion, where he lost certain chromosomes, resulting in abnormalities.
“We were really caught off-guard,” Sara tells WOWT News about their initial reaction to their son’s ultrasound images. When they were asked if they want to keep the pregnancy — it was an easy decision for them to continue with the journey.
According to WOWT News, “They knew their son would be born breathing and that was enough for them”. The couple realized that their son is beautiful.
Sara and Chris wanted to spread awareness through social media, and hopeful that by documenting Brody’s journey through Facebook and Instagram, they can change the way people think about cleft lips and palates. “It is OK to be proud of your baby no matter the circumstances,” Sara shared on Today.com.
Every day, Sara and Chris proudly share photos of Brody on Facebook and Instagram, attracting plenty of comments— mostly positive and encouraging.
However, not everyone has the same reaction.
One particular day, someone posted a negative comment on Brody’s photo from their social media site. “What’s wrong with your baby’s nose? I’ve never seen anything like that. It doesn’t look good” Sara told The Huffington Post about the stranger’s hurtful comment. She also added that the comment is a “stab to the heart.”
She wondered how would Brody deal with this kind of situation, and this will probably not be the last negative comment they’ll receive.
So instead of giving the stranger an angry response, she took the high road by attaching a link from a reliable website that explains about a cleft palate.
“I decided to educate rather than create a confrontation because that is what I want Brody to do in the future. I will want him to educate, to be an advocate for younger cleft kids who don’t have their own voice yet.” She shared.
Just a few hours after the upsetting comment, Sara went out with Brody to have dinner with her friends, a few days before the New Year’s Eve. The server approached their table, and looked for Brody’s mom. He handed Sara a piece of paper that was given by a stranger.
It looked like a napkin, but Sara found out that it was a folded check. When she opened it, she was shocked to see the amount of $1,000 with a note in the memo line that says “For the beautiful baby.”
“Tears fell from my eyes immediately and the happiness my heart felt is indescribable.” Sara told Today.com.
This surprise gift was able to help in Brody’s medical needs. Just a few days after that restaurant encounter, Brody underwent surgery to fix the cleft palate. The complete stranger’s generosity restored the couple’s faith in humanity.
“Being Brody’s parent has taught me that people care. Strangers all over the country want to hear his story, and they want to pray for him.” Sara told Today.com.
If you want to follow this family’s adventure please visit their Instagram page.