Children’s of Alabama receives a $600K donation to start a new cleft therapy treatment

Children's of Alabama Bill and Pam Smith
Pam and Bill Smith donate to fund new cleft therapy treatment. (Children’s of Alabama / Facebook)

Children’s of Alabama just received a generous donation of $600K on behalf of The Bill and Pam Smith Family Foundation. The gift will help Children’s to offer specialized Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM) services to the Birmingham region. Keep reading to learn why Bill and Pam were motivated to donate and how it will improve Children’s of Alabama.

What is NAM?

NAM is a pre-surgical cleft lip and palate therapy designed to reduce the size of the cleft by molding and repositioning the nose and mouth tissues. Infants wear a custom-fitted appliance, similar to an orthodontic retainer, for an estimated 12 weeks and for 23 hours a day.

Benefits to NAM include:

  • Improves the shape and position of the lip and nose.
  • Reduces the size of the cleft to make surgery easier and quicker.
  • Easy to adapt appliances to make children more comfortable.
  • Provides ease of feeding and breathing for the child.
  • Reduces the number of surgeries needed to repair the lip and palate.

The inspiration behind the donation

Birmingham’s Bill, founder of Shipt and Landing, and Pam Smith were inspired to donate to Children’s of Alabama because of their first-hand experiences with cleft issues. In 2019, their daughter Caroline was born with a cleft palate and had a hard time seeking therapeutic treatment. They had to fly back and forth to Philidelphia to receive treatment. The Smiths saw this as an opportunity to make a difference for those who are facing similar challenges in Alabama.

“We want to help provide an alternative option for children and families seeking treatment for clefts in Alabama. We’re proud to assist with the creation of this program and play a part in expanding access to the best treatment options, regardless of geography or financial resources.” 

Bill Smith, Founder, Shipt and Landing

Making a difference

children's of Alabama
Superheros can be found at Children’s of AL. (Children’s of Alabama / Facebook)

Since the launch of the program, Children’s has helped numerous kids with their therapeutic NAM treatment and will continue to help more.

“Bill and Pam’s generous gift allows us to fully integrate the comprehensive field of orthodontics into our team. We’re now capable of offering services on par with leading programs across the country. Our NAM program introduces orthodontics to families’ treatment options, initiating a long-term relationship of education and trust that can span as long as 18 years.”  

John Grant, M.D., Director of the Children’s Cleft and Craniofacial Center, Children’s of Alabama

Children’s of Alabama is known for its amazing staff. You will find orthodontists, plastic surgeons and nurse practitioners who are specifically trained in NAM therapy and the surgeries that may follow. Upon referral, each patient is treated on a case-by-case basis to determine the best treatment option. Should NAM be an appropriate treatment option, parents work directly with the team to curate therapy for each individual child.  

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Emma Johnston
Emma Johnston
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