In my experience, children who are born with facial disfigurements respond to their appearance and challenges in one, of two ways. Some act embarrassed and closed off from those around them in hopes to not be noticed and teased. Others go about like everyone else, realizing that they may ‘look’ different but almost offended if pitied because they consider themselves just like everyone else.
I know this first hand, because I am one of those children. It took me a minute, as I wrote this, to say “I am” and not “I was”. I was lucky to have undergone plastic surgery to remove the hemangioma on my cheek that I lived with for 12 years, and even though I visibly don’t have it anymore, its presence in my life, how it shaped and molded me into the person I am today, is undeniably forever a part of me. And in case you were wondering, I was part of the group who never wanted to be pitied for looking ‘different’ from everyone else around me. Matter of fact, just before my surgery in 1991, Dr. Wolfe explained to me that he was going to replace what “I had” with a scar- my response to him was, “but I don’t have anything”. He chuckled, looked at my mom and said, “She got me; she’s right. She doesn’t have anything… its like being born with a nose- you never think of it as anything other than a nose; a part of you”.
For some time now, I have been extremely eager in finding a foundation dedicated to raising awareness and facilitating necessary treatment for children born with facial disfigurements- to the point that I started researching how to start one myself if I couldn’t find one. Though it took my parents 12 years to find a doctor who would finally perform the surgery on my cheek, I was fortunate that we had insurance and that there was a doctor willing and skilled to do so. Many children are not so fortunate.
Little Baby Face Foundation was founded by Dr. Thomas Romo, III in 2002. He, together with an extensive team of medical experts, provide necessary surgery and medical care to children born with facial deformities who are in financial need, worldwide. The work and passion behind LBFF is so near and dear to my heart. The treatment they provide to these children goes so far beyond skin deep. These are life altering procedures that arm a child with the self confidence and enthusiasm to face life without inhibition- just like any normal child.
A couple of months ago I reached out to LBFF, and for the first time, I shared my story publicly. My goal was to let them know how incredibly touched I am by the work that they do and extended my hand, if they so needed, to help bring about awareness- in any capacity. As you can imagine, I was so honored when they contacted me back and shared my story on their website.
Believe in Miracles: The Little Baby Face Foundation is just one of many videos showcasing the work behind the LBFF, Dr. Thomas Romo, and his team. Please take a few minutes and watch- I dare you to not be inspired 😉
For more information on how you can help by Donating to the foundation or attending a fundraising Event please click on the appropriate links or simply visit the How To Help and Events tabs posted on the Little Baby Face Foundation website.
“Transforming the Lives and Faces of Children”- Little Baby Face Foundation