Most of us are connected in some way to a family member or friend who has been touched by the diagnosis of a life threatening disease, a disability or some other unexpected physical or mental ailment. My own family has been struck with such circumstances and it has made us completely aware of the need for emotional and financial support.
On a personal note, Smile-Train and other organizations that provide services to individuals born with a maxillofacial deformity are our frequented charities. My daughter was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate and thus we are very familiar with the needed support for families. While immediate corrective surgeries were completed as an infant and toddler for my daughter, she struggled for years with the emotional impact of this birth defect. Although, all who know her, believed her to be a beautiful girl and young woman, it has taken years to see herself as beautiful and normal.
My characters, Evan and Bella, have purposefully been created with non-symmetrical features to reflect and celebrate the fact that we are each born wonderfully unique!