PHOENIX -- Born with a cleft palate, Charlotte Gould went through two surgeries before age 1 -- the first at just 3 months old.
During recovery, Charlotte's doctors gave her a stuffed bear with stitches on its mouth, which she named Charley.
Now, for every birthday, Charlotte asks for donations to buy more bears with stitches to give to newborns with cleft palates.
"Because everybody who gets a bear has stitches on their face, so we wanted the bear to look a little like them," Charlotte said.
The 6-year-old is behind the Charley Bear Hug program at the Barrow Cleft and Craniofacial Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and is making a 100-bear donation this birthday.
The bears come with a tote and information about cleft palates for parents.
"The bears are special to her and because of that, they become special to the families who receive them. So, the story of Charlotte accompanies the bears," said Dr. Patricia Glick, craniofacial orthodontist and co-director of Barrow Cleft and Craniofacial Center.
It's a moment of pride for Nicole Gould as her daughter shares her love of Charley with all of the babies born with cleft palates at Barrow.
"We want to give back in any way that we can," Nicole Gould said.
The bears are $10 each and come from the Cleft Palate Foundation.
Click here to make a donation to the Barrow Neurological Institute.