Jase Robertson, star of A&E's TV show "Duck Dynasty," is usually found wearing camo in the swampland of Louisiana. But on Tuesday he was sitting in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Trent Franks with his 10-year-old daughter — but still wearing camo.
The Arizona Republican lawmaker wrote to Mr. Robertson's daughter, Mia, after discovering they both had something in common: a cleft lip and palate. As the only member of Congress that has a cleft lip, Mr. Franks said he supports Mia in what she has gone through.
"I'm grateful that we got a chance to meet her today, and I just think she's going to do great things for an awful lot of children, and maybe the difficulty she's gone through will really save a lot of other children from going even into more darkness and difficulty than we can imagine," he said.
Mr. Franks and the Robertson family teamed up to hold a press conference on Capitol Hill to spread awareness of the Mia Moo Fund. Mia may be a small 10-year-old girl who has definitely gone through some hard times, but her message is big. "I like to help kids so they won't have to go through hard stuff," she told The Washington Times.
Her father explained, "She has trouble eating, breathing and talking — these are three basic [aspects] to the quality of life."
The brave girl has gone through four surgeries, the first when she was just three months old and the most recent earlier this year. Missy Robertson, Mia's mother, wants other parents to get all the advice they can "because that knowledge is what's going to [lead you] to make the best decision for your child."
Missy and Jase Robertson decided to start the Mia Moo Fund this year in order to raise money for research, treatment and to identify the causes of cleft lips and palates to help aid other families going through the same pain they've watched Mia go through now for ten years.
Cleft lip affects almost one in 700 children. The cause is unknown, but it originates during pregnancy.
As a father, Mr. Robertson has reached out to other families who need advice on coping with the ongoing surgeries.
He explained he even went as far as flying to Dallas to meet with one family going through a difficult time before sending their child into surgery. "I said, 'Look, here is a picture of my daughter.' I held it up. I said I don't have anything else to say except 'it's going to be OK. You can make this.'"
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