Michael Williams-Stark has vivid memories of the kids who used to call out to him and follow him around when he was three or four years old. He’s just not sure when he realized that they were making fun of him.
Williams-Stark was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. “I remember my mom holding me up in front of the mirror and pointing to my face and explaining how I was different from other people.” While growing up in New Westminster, BC, he went through several operations, including major reconstruction at age 14. “But I’ve never stopped seeing through the eyes of that kid. Surgeries have made me presentable, but I can never walk out into the world and take it for granted.”