Juliana, daughter of Tami (Divine) and Thom Wetmore, is a lovable 3-year-old born with a birth defect called Treacher Collins Syndrome. Its the worst case doctors have ever seen. You can attend a benefit to help her!
Her story, Born Without a Face, has been featured on TLC or Discovery Health channels. She has been the subject of several TV specials around the world. Juliana is missing 30-40 percent of the bones in her face, has no upper jaw, no cheek bones or eye sockets, and is missing both ears. Other than the facial bone defects, she is a normal, loving little girl. She and her family live in Jacksonville, Fla.
Juliana breathes through a tracheotomy tube in her neck and eats through a tube that goes into her stomach (gastrostomy tube). She cannot speak but uses sign language and lets you know what she wants or doesnt want. This brave little girl has been through 21 surgeries already and will undergo an unknown number in future years.
Treacher Collins Syndrome occurs in one out of 10,000 births. When Juliana was born, doctors thought she would die. But though missing more than half the bones in her face, she has normal intelligence. Doctors at Miami Childrens Hospital tested her DNA and found that among Treacher Collins cases, her mutation is totally unique. She has had surgery to try to strengthen and grow the bone in her skull. She can see out of one eye. There is hope that one day, with a special implant, she may be able to hear. She now weighs 37 pounds.
A benefit fund-raiser is planned for 4 p.m.-midnight, Friday, July 7, at the American Legion Post, 403 Main St., Pecatonica. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids younger than 10. The price includes dinner and one raffle ticket. A pasta and Chinese dinner starts at 4 p.m., catered by Annas and Imperial Palace of Winnebago. Also featured are music and karaoke (donated by Mandalen Karaoke), a full bar and beer.
A live auction will be at 7 p.m. Raffles will be throughout the night. Some items for auction are: a ladies 14-kt. gold, two-tone, hand-designed diamond ring from Busch Jewelers; one-night stay at Clock Tower Resort with four water park passes; many gift certificates and baskets from area businesses and restaurants; lots of jewelry, sports items and much more. The family is looking for more donations and items to help with the fund-raiser raffles and auction.
The Juliana Fund has been established for cash donations at First National Bank of Winnebago, 500 N. Elida St., in Winnebago. Donations can be mailed to the bank at P.O. Box 515, Winnebago, IL 61088. Juliana, her mother Tami, and Kendra (Julianas sister) will be at the fund-raiser. Her dad, Thom, will be out of the country on active duty with the Navy. Tami is a Winnebago, Ill., native and graduate of Winnebago High School.
To make a donation or for more information, contact Kim (Zielke) White at 543-5007 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the June 21-27, 2006, issue