Nurse, ‘Stranger Things’ star help others with birth defect
MAPLETON, Utah (AP) — A Utah woman with a rare birth defect has teamed up with a teenage star from the Netflix show “Stranger Things” to start a group to bring awareness to the bone disorder they both have.
Utah County nurse practitioner Kelly Wosnik and actor Gaten Matarazzo both were born with a rare birth defect called cleidocranial dysplasia, or CCD, the Deseret News reported .
Those born with CCD do not have collarbones and experience difficulties with bone development, particularly with their teeth, requiring multiple dental procedures throughout childhood. Wosnik had surgeries from the age of 7 to 19. Matarazzo was, and is, in the middle of his surgeries.
Wosnick had plans to start an organization aimed at helping those with CCD and Matarazzo wanted to become the face of the foundation. Matarazzo’s parents flew from New Jersey to Utah with their famous son.
After first meeting each other a year ago, Wosnik and Matarazzo have worked together to bring CCD Smiles to life.
Last month, Matarazzo and Wosnik appeared on the ABC television show “The Doctors” to talk about CCD Smiles. At last count, the YouTube clip of their appearance had exceeded 2.3 million hits.
For Wosnik, who had never met anyone else with CCD until she was 33, this explosion of awareness has been hard to believe.
“If nothing else, I wanted to provide a way for people with CCD to connect with each other,” she said. “That kind of therapy is so important — just knowing you’re not alone. I’d have given anything for that connection.”
The bigger goal, said Wosnik, is to pay for dental surgeries some people could not otherwise afford.