Dahana is a 14 year-old Haitian girl diagnosed with Ossifying Fibroma of the maxilla. This benign tumor had changed Dahana’s facial features significantly. Like Marlie she had difficulty with breathing, eating and talking. Fortunately her eyesight was not affected. In Haiti, local villagers would through rocks at her and treat her like an animal. Two missionaries with International Kids Fund found her, and we were able to perform the reconstructive surgery needed for her to live a normal life again.
Marlie is a 15 year-old Haitian girl diagnosed with Polyostotic Fibrous Dysplasia. She looked absolutely normal until the age of nine when she first hit puberty. With time her facial features started to change due to her illness. In her small village in Haiti she was considered cursed. After failing repeated voodoo medicine interventions, two missionaries found her and referred her to our team. When we first met Marlie she could not talk, eat or breathe normally. Through the support of International Kids Fund, we were able to perform five reconstructive surgeries on her. On December 19, 2006, after six years of not being able to speak, Marlie spoke again after her tracheotomy tube was removed. Her first words were “thank you.” Marlie will need at least two more reconstructive surgeries which will be planned in the near future.
Nikil is a 5 year-old boy with congenital ptosis, or droopy eyelid. We met Nikil on our first mission trip to India when his father brought him in concerned about his droopy eyelid. His vision was being blocked in that right eye. If left untreated, his eyesight would not have developed properly and he could suffer from permanent vision loss called amblyopia. We used connective tissue from his thigh to perform the reconstructive procedure to raise the upper eyelid and save his visual potential.
Shrivani was another child with congenital ptosis that we operated on in India. What we are trying to avoid in treating droopy eyelid is amblyopia, or permanent loss of vision due to poor visual development. Reconstructive surgery was undertaken to correct her droopy eyelid. Now she is thriving in school because she can see her learning materials and play with her friends and classmates.