When Sara Heller learned that her baby boy would have a bilateral cleft lip during her 24-week ultrasound, she and her partner, Chris Eldman, saw nothing but a beautiful baby boy. The couple from Nebraska decided that they wanted to share as many photos of Brody as possible to help normalize cleft palates but quickly learned how cruel some people can be.
After an Instagram user asked, "What's wrong with his face?" it hit Sarah just how hard raising awareness for her child's condition would be, especially as a parent. "I wasn't prepared to defend my 3-month-old and why he looks 'different' from other babies. I decided to educate rather than create a confrontation because that is what I want Brody to do in the future," she told Today. "I will want him to educate, to be an advocate for younger cleft kids who don't have their own voice yet."
Despite her strength, Sarah was still shocked over the online encounter and wasn't prepared for another stranger's actions just a few hours later. Sara took Brody out to dinner with some of her friends and the waiter delivered a folded piece of paper. When Sara opened it, there was a check for $1,000 and written in the memo line was a note that read, "For the beautiful baby."
"Tears fell from my eyes immediately and the happiness my heart felt is indescribable," Sara said. "The generosity of a complete stranger restored our faith in humanity."
The money has gone toward Brody's medical bills, as the infant recently underwent his second mouth procedure. He currently is unable to eat and depends on a gastrointestinal tube for nutrients but will have another surgery in a few months to repair his palate.
"Being Brody's parent has taught me that people care," Sara said. "Strangers all over the country want to hear his story, and they want to pray for him."