Twenty one years ago, I was born with a cleft lip. My parents were shocked, since they didn’t know anything about clefts, but they were determined to get me treated. My family and relatives were extremely supportive, and wanted the best for me from the beginning. I learnt later that this is not the case for many children born with clefts as they are often forced to live in isolation.
But I had struggles of my own. As a child, I underwent three surgeries for my cleft lip in different private hospitals, but unfortunately, all were performed incorrectly. After that, I went on to have orthodontic treatment for more than eight years. This put a lot of financial strain on my parents, but I was still shy and introverted. A few years ago, the orthodontist there told me that I needed to consult a surgeon for further treatment and facial corrections, which is when I met Dr Kharbanda, who introduced me to Smile Train. This was the turning point of my life.
Between the ages of 18 and 19, I had three cleft surgeries supported by Smile Train to correct my nose and lips. This gave me the confidence to pursue a career that I’d always been passionate about - fashion blogging and personal styling. I founded my blog Talk2Tiara three years ago, and it’s been a dream come true ever since! I really appreciate how the industry has been friendly and respectful so far. I’ve worked with my favourite brands like L'Oréal, Garnier, and Myntra, and even got invited to judge a kids’ fashion show last year. One of the highlights of my career, though, was when Honor mobiles invited me to be a part of their launch, and Saina Nehwal herself handed me a phone!
All these achievements in such a short period have just proven to me that timely cleft surgeries can give any child the confidence to pursue their dreams. To all children who are currently living with untreated clefts, I’d like to say this - don't feel shy or embarrassed about yourself... Timely cleft treatment will make you unstoppable. Just try to be the best at everything you do, because people will love you for your spirit, not for your appearance.
As shared by Tanya Mittal. Tanya underwent cleft treatment at Smile Train’s partner, Maharaja Agrasen Hospital in New Delhi.