Few children feel thankful they were born with a bilateral complete cleft lip and palate—except Victor Burchard.
The 11-year-old says the debilitating condition brought him together with his loving, adoptive family. Victor met MaryJo and Kenny Burchard of Hanford at the Ukraine orphanage where he lived since a baby.
Selected as the featured speaker for this year’s Harvest Ball—Children’s largest annual fundraiser—the Burchard family will tell their story of how when they first met Victor they weren’t sure if they could properly care for a special needs child. Then age 3 and 26 pounds, he suffered feeding, speech and other related issues.
Within minutes, the Burchards knew the little boy they soon nicknamed “Veech” belonged with them. “We both melted,” says MaryJo. “Victor is an old, sweet soul. You can see it in his eyes.”
Children’s Hospital provided hope and a clearer path to help their new son.
After returning home from the Ukraine, the couple brought Victor to Children’s for an evaluation. Soon he underwent his first surgery with Dr. Peter Witt, Children’s medical director of pediatric plastic surgery, to begin the long process of repairing one of the most severe cleft lip and palate cases Dr. Witt has seen.
“Victor is a remarkable child with a remarkable family,” says Dr. Witt. “He never complains about anything and always has a positive attitude. A lot of that comes from his strong family support.”
Over the years, Victor has undergone about a dozen procedures at Children’s with more expected as he continues to grow. He also received speech therapy with Wendy Garbarino, manager, speech and audiology services at Children’s and coordinated care with an oral surgeon.
“We’re excited to attend the Harvest Ball,” says MaryJo of the annual black-tie gala scheduled Sept. 12. “We can’t think of a better way to say thank you than by sharing how the Hospital’s donors have made a significant difference in our lives by making such specialized care possible.”
“Victor is doing great,” she continued. “We wouldn’t go anywhere else but Children’s.”
Harvest Ball Speaker Preview
Read a related story about Dr. Witt here.