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‘Wonder’ viewing inspires local pediatric patients with facial differences

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Center for Craniofacial care is using a movie based on a New York Times bestseller to help their patients find common ground.

Dozens of children with facial differences who have had or are awaiting surgery, filled Richmond’s Bow-Tie Cinemas for a viewing of the movie “Wonder.”

The movie is about a fifth-grade boy with facial differences entering into mainstream elementary school for the first time.

“Finding a mainstream movie that supports that for kids who have facial differences, as well as supports the experience and challenges of the whole family in a positive light was really special for us,” plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Rhodes said.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Craniofacial team wanted to help connect patients with others in similar situations.

“Not only having those medical, and dental, and speech and hearing challenges by looking so different, these kids are often treated differently,” said Dr. Rhodes.

“Our goal in working with these kids and families is to make sure that they look, feel and function their very best possible.”

Heavenli Hill, 12, couldn’t wait to view the film. She was born with Treacher-Collins Syndrome like the main character in the movie.

Heavenli Hill

“I am actually really excited because I have the same situation. We’re both different,” said Hill. “You should be proud of who you are because everyone is different.”

The event was funded by the teams’ auxiliary.