TIME U.S.

Duck Dynasty Family Takes On Public Health

Duck Dynasty Mia Roberts cleft lip
Duck Dynasty's Mia Robertson attends a press conference to raise awareness of cleft lip and palate treatments on July 8, 2014 at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington. Paul Morigi—WireImage/Getty Images

The Duck Dynasty family is leveraging its fame in pursuit of a new challenge: treating cleft lips

America’s much-loved Duck Dynasty clan seems to be all over Washington these days – Willie Robertson was recently spotted at a Nats game with the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Phil Robertson’s nephew is running for Congress, and the family has attended the White House correspondents dinner two years running. Now they are in the nation’s capital taking on a new issue: public health.

Mia Roberston, 10, daughter of Jase and Missy Robertson, was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. After her final corrective surgery in January, the family started the Mia Moo Fund to raise awareness and money for research and treatment of the birth defect. Mia and her parents spoke alongside Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), also born with a cleft lip and palate, in front of the Capitol Tuesday about the work of the Fund and the struggles of growing up with the condition.

“As the Robertson family, we don’t back away from any challenges,” said Missy about their commitment to their daughter and other children born with cleft lips or palates.

According to the Mia Moo Fund’s website, “The organization began in 2014 after Mia… completed surgery for her cleft palate. As Mia entered surgery, thousands of supportive fans tweeted, blogged and talked about how strong and beautiful she was. It was both empowering and inspiring. It has since become our mission to bring this type of support and love to each and every child that suffers from cleft lip and palate.”

Both Franks and the Robertsons invoked God as they talked about this mission.

“God has blessed kids like Mia and Representative Franks with an extra measure of courage,” Jase said.

Mia was quick to refer her own experience to faith, as well. “God is bigger than any of your struggles,” she said, her voice barely audible as she read from her prepared speech. “Don’t forget that.”

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