Metro Detroit couple inspired by son's own battle raises awareness for cleft lip, palate research

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 17:23:10-04

Here’s a story about a couple who is paying it forward after their son was born with a cleft lip and palate.

The father is co-owner of Sal’s Barber Shop in Lincoln Park. The couple is hosting a fundraiser to raise money to help research and raise awareness about cleft issues.

“Lean on the people that are in this community to help you out,” Lawrence Jesue said.

His son Joseph was born with a cleft lip and palate.

Now, Lawrence and his wife Teresa want to help others with the same condition.

“Joseph, out of all us, has been the strongest one," Teresa explained. "From day one, finding out to now he’s been so resilient.”

The almost 2-year-old has undergone three surgeries at Mott Children’s Hospital. The couple found out about Joseph’s cleft lip when Teresa was 20-weeks pregnant.

“At that point I just lost,” she said. 

“I didn’t know what it was,” Lawrence said. “My wife started crying and I didn’t know, as a husband, I didn’t know whether to hold her hand or ask questions.”

After his surgeries, Joseph is doing great. He will need at least one more surgery around the age of 7.

Jospeh also goes to speech therapy. Now, Sal’s Barber Shop is hosting an event called Cuts for Clefts on Aug. 11.

All proceeds from that day’s haircuts at the shop will go to Mott’s research program to learn more about what causes cleft lips and palates.

“What they did for our son, we thought we’d give back,” Lawrence said.

“The more we find out about it the more we can prevent future children to have to go through this,” Teresa added.

They created a GoFundMe page that’s already surpassed their goal.

“Totally floored, I’m overwhelmed,” Lawrence said.

The family says they’re doing their part to pay it forward and they hope you can help, too.

“It would be great if everyone who saw it donated a dollar,” Lawrence said. “If you give a little bit it’s going to help someone out in the future.”