FACES National Craniofacial Association originally began in 1969 as the Debbie Fox Foundation and is celebrating five decades of changing lives. FACES makes facial surgeries possible for kids here in Chattanooga, and across the nation by financially assisting patients and their families with travel costs for specialist care and surgeries. The organization also provides information to families and operates a summer camp specifically for kids with facial differences.
Debbie Fox, a young girl from Soddy Daisy, was born in 1955 with a facial cleft. When she was 14 years old, a surgeon at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Medical Center created a new face for her. Many people involved in Debbie’s care began thinking 'beyond the local horizon” and were interested in extending services to other children with like facial malformations. Her family and teacher, along with a group of physicians, lawyers, and philanthropists formed The Debbie Fox Foundation, now called FACES: The national Craniofacial Association, currently headquartered in Chattanooga.
Families and individuals have felt the positive impact of the FACES mission over the last 50 years. FACES has assisted families traveling to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, as well as those who must travel elsewhere. Recently, Zane, who is one year old, and his family were assisted with funding to travel to Philadelphia from their home state of Virginia for a series of surgeries to correct facial differences.
"I was 27 weeks pregnant when I found out that our son, Zane, was going to be born with Apert Syndrome/ Craniosynostosis," said Ashley Cross. "My husband is in the U.S. Navy, and I worked two jobs at the time, so that we could live a very comfortable life with my husband and our then 3-year-old, Hailey. Our plan all along was that I would still work after having baby number two. After giving birth to Zane we soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to go back to work because Zane needed more attention than a babysitter or childcare could give him. We were scared… what were we going to do? We travel from South East (coastal) Virginia to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to get Zane to the specialized care he needs. This is where FACES comes in. When I received the first email from Kim Fox it was so warm and comforting. They have helped us with our travel to Philadelphia and also a trip to Boston to have a second opinion. They have also been a good source of someone to listen to our journey and giving me emotional support. There isn’t enough ‘Thank yous’ in the world that I could give to FACES and those who work there! You have been our light in some stressful times! Forever grateful!"
More information about FACES can be found online at www.faces-cranio.org.