Each year, thousands of children experience bullying as a result of being born with facial deformities. One such example was Nadia Ilse, who had to endure numerous taunts about her ears from the day she started first grade. The Little Baby Face Foundation has come to the rescue, not only for Nadia, but for thousands of other children as well, by providing free plastic surgery to help correct these deformities.
Looking Forward to School for the First Time
As a result of receiving otoplasty surgery, Nadia, who is now 14 years old, can look forward to joining her peers at school for the first time ever. She stated that, as a result of being called Dumbo because of her ears, she had changed from being talkative and outgoing to being extremely shy, withdrawn and anti-social. “The taunting hurt so much,” she stated to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. When the foundation heard of her plight, they not only performed the otoplasty, they also included reduction rhinoplasty and mentoplasty to reduce the size of her nose and chin, respectively. Estimated cost of the surgery was in the region of $40,000, which was fully funded by the foundation.
More Children Going Under the Knife than Ever
Thousands of children are so desperate to stop the daily taunting and bullying over their appearance that they are lining up to have the appropriate surgical procedures. Although Nadia is aware that she should have been accepted for who she was prior to having the surgery, she realized that there would be no end in sight to the bullying. She has no regrets whatsoever after receiving the surgery. “I look beautiful, this is exactly what I wanted, I love it,” she said. When asked what advice she would give to parents, she stated, “Give your children a lot of love and affection and tell them that they’re beautiful every single day.”
Transforming One Life at a Time
Although Nadia must still begin counseling to help her overcome the psychological effects of the bullying, a Little Baby Face Foundation board member, Don Moriarity, stated that her positive outlook demonstrates the group’s goal. “We like to say that Baby Face transforms the lives of these children, and gives them new found confidence,” he said. Nadia’s story emerged a few months after it was discovered that 7-year-old Samantha Shaw had otoplasty, and 13-year-old Nicolette Taylor was featured for having nose surgery in an effort to combat online harassment as well as name-calling and bullying at school.
Anti-Bullying Laws in Place
According to a report released by the US Department of Education, the majority of states now have laws in place that require schools to adopt policies against bullying. Over the past decade, more than 120 bills have been adopted in this regard. Currently, 46 states have enacted anti-bullying laws, and 36 have implemented regulations that deal with cyber bullying. In some cases, these laws and bills give schools authority to address bullying, even if it takes place off of school grounds.
While these laws may not have been enough to protect victims like Nadia, Samantha and Nicolette, it is hoped that they will offer some measure of comfort and restitution to others who are susceptible to being bullied.
Image Source: CNN