A STANTHORPE mother with a touching story is urging locals to get behind a worthy cause.
In November last year, Robbie Milne was born with a cleft lip and a cleft palate, and spent a week in the intensive care unit at the Royal Women's Hospital.
A resulting problem with his pituitary gland means Robbie's body is unable to produce adrenaline, and he is destined to be on hydrocortisone for the rest of his life.
More than eight months on, baby Robbie is growing more curious by the day and continues to win plenty of people's hearts.
His adoring mother Jenny Reading is now on a campaign to raise funds for medical research ahead of the annual Jeans for Genes Day, which this year falls on Friday, August 1.
She has organised for Jeans for Genes Day merchandise packs to be made available from various local businesses, saying every dollar helps.
Approximately one in 700 babies is born with a cleft lip or palate, and the definitive cause of the condition is still unknown.
Mrs Reading said any money invested into researching the cause "would be beneficial".
She knows that baby Robbie will be faced with challenges throughout his life, but is certain that he will be able to overcome the obstacles in his path.
"Living in a small town it's sometimes worrying about the reaction he'll get from the other kids at school," Mrs Reading said.
"He is such a little fighter though and nothing is holding him back."
Mrs Reading said although the specialist discovered the condition during the pregnancy, its full extent could not be known until Robbie was born.
"I had never heard of cleft until the doctor told me," she said.
Meeting with mothers and children going through similar experiences was invaluable for her family, and helped "put things into perspective".
Robbie is also supported by his loving father Nick, and older siblings Jaidyn and Lilli.
His father has a passion for golf and motorbikes, and Mrs Reading knows exactly what she'd prefer Robbie to pursue.
"We think he's going to be a professional golfer one day," she said.
Jeans for Genes Day merchandise packs are available from: IGA, Woolworths, Stanthorpe State School, Liquor Legends, IGA, Zest and The Little Bread & Coffee Shop.
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