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Helping children born with facial deformities

July 21, 2013 11:23:52 AM PDT
A local family in New Jersey is celebrating the relief and hope given to them by the National Foundation for Facial Surgery.

Defects that might shame a child - a crooked smile, bulging eyes or a missing ear - are all conditions that one in 700 children in America are born with. It happened to the Fernando Family, but instead of hiding their challenges, they are inspiring others.

"We welcomed our first child but it was overshadowed by his condition. We didn't know until he was born," Dana Fernando explained.

It's hard to imagine what a parent does when they realize their child will be different. Dana Fernando had no warning. At the Kiran's birth, he would have to have surgeries and tubes. Her new baby couldn't leave the hospital for 8 months until finally, there was help.

"We finally sent a picture to a nurse practitioner at NYU within an hour we got a phone call from her," Fernando said.

Kiran was diagnosed with Goldenhar Syndrome, an incomplete facial development. To the Fernando family's surprise their "dream team" anchored by the national foundation for facial surgery was based right here in New York City.

Four-year old Kiran loves TV. He has a bubbly spirit and loves his brother. He's had 11 surgeries and faces 10 more ahead. As he gets older, he'll also have therapy about how to cope with his differences. It's a lot.

"I can smile a lot, but I cry a lot. It's unbearable. It's hard to think about telling your child that people will stare at you," Fernando said.

People will also help. This weekend (July 20, 2013) is their fundraiser Races for Faces. It's the foundation that helps kids like Kiran. Dana says sometimes you feel like hiding from it all, but then she remembers how they have gotten this far.

"It goes on and on and on, surgeries and challenges. That's what the NFFR does, they are there to help families to move forward with their child," she said.

To learn more about the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction online, please click here.


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