by Sara Pollak
As a child, I felt as if I lived in the backseat of my parents silver car, driving to and from Manhattan from my home in Connecticut for surgeries and doctor appointments. As the passing scenery looked like a blurred painting, I wished that my life would go faster. I wished I was out of school, wished my loneliness would melt away, and wished that my life was different. However, I had not given my life a chance, I rushed to conclusions too quickly.
I have to take control and surround myself with people that make me happy
For many years, myFace has helped to give craniofacial patients and families the support they need, change the way kids perceive themselves, the way they feel about their appearance, and equally as important, the way others see and perceive them. When I was young, no one looked, laughed, or stared. But as time went on, the stares started to get noticeable, the laughs I could hear, and friends started turning their back on me. I did not know why. For years I had no issues, now, all of a sudden, why was this happening? I realized while sitting in waiting rooms and looking at the people who entered and exited, that no one is perfect, many had challenges far worse than mine, but the bottom line is everyone is different, we just have to accept that.
The author with Dr. Roberto Flores
Fast forward a couple of years, I am more confident than ever. I love my life, it just took some time to find that spark of why I loved it. I realized that I have to fill my life with positive connections through adventures and people, not just hope that they come into my life, I have to take control and surround myself with people that make me happy. myFace helped me realize those positive connections through support groups, activities, and events. Through the events and groups that myFace put together, I was able to connect with others who have craniofacial differences and make life-lasting friends. From there, I pursued opportunities to give to others who are just like me and need to find that spark and excitement in their life, Cowabunga Surf Retreat was that escape.
In the year 2013, I surfed my first wave, ever! I was so excited, enthusiastic, and happy that I accomplished something so physically challenging, it came from my need to succeed and positive energy that I finally got what I wanted out of life. The summer after, myself and a group of eager and excited volunteers, family, and friends started Cowabunga Surf Retreat for teens who have some sort of limitation. For that summer and the summer after, we ran the sleep away camp, impacting teens lives and creating relationships among them.
If I were asked to express one word about my experience interning for myFace it is “inspired”
Now that I am in college, Cowabunga has been hard to coordinate and plan, but hopefully it will happen again for summers to come. I am attending Endicott College in MA, pursuing the major of Hospitality with a concentration in Event Management. For our winter break we are required to complete a 104 hour internship. I thought, why not intern with myFace in New York City.
This is my 3rd and unfortunately last week interning with myFace. Throughout the weeks, I have realized that work and future adult life will bring long days and tired nights, just like any occupation. However, my occupation will also be filled with smiles, mesmerizing memories, and special moments/events that I help to create. The past three weeks have exceeded my expectations for an internship. I am planning, working, and executing events I would have never imagined. I helped plan a Panel Luncheon which consisted of surgeons, healthcare professionals as well as R.J. Pallacio, the author of the best seller Wonder. I also started my own social media fundraiser called Sara’s Angels to benefit myFace patients and help a child with craniofacial difference go to Camp Courage, as well as participated in a middle school visit to promote kindness and understanding with the myFace team, and last but not least, I helped out with apartments in Manhattan which are free for families of patients who travel long distances for medical care, all the myFace asks is for a donation big or small, and handled other details of upcoming events.
If I were asked to express one word about my experience interning for myFace it is “inspired”. I am inspired to work as hard and effectively as the myFace staff does every day, helping and supporting families, just like mine, who need their help the most. myFace is a family, to its staff and to their patients, it’s not just an organization.
Who knows, maybe their name should be myFamily.