Little Stephie Will Have a Great Life
Our wonderful little Philippine patient Stephie, who suffers from Apert’s syndrome, underwent surgery in Manila in June. Her parents shared Stephie’s pre-surgery prayer with us. “Dear God, please be with me on my surgery day. I pray for a safe and successful operation. Help me to be strong so I can recover well. Amen.”
Born in June 2017, Stephie suffers from a rare craniofacial disorder that results in premature fusion of the skull bones, leading to abnormal head growth, a sunken appearance in the middle of the face, bulging and wide-set eyes, a beaked nose, and an underdeveloped upper jaw with crowded teeth and other dental problems. Shallow eye sockets also cause vision problems, and early fusion of the skull bones can affect the development of the brain if surgical treatment is not received early enough. Many of these children have cognitive delay as part of the syndrome, but there is some evidence that early surgery improves mental function. Most children with Apert’s syndrome also have webbed or fused fingers and toes of varying severity—and Stephie does as well.
Stephie’s first major surgery was performed by Dr. Bernard Tansipek, the chief surgeon at the Noordhoff Craniofacial Center at Philippine General Hospital in Manila. Dr. Tansipek was trained in Taipei, Taiwan under Dr. Yu Ray Chen and Dr. Sam Noordhoff, who established the excellent Manila craniofacial center named in his honor with WorldCF and Smile Train support. Stephie’s first skull surgery went remarkably well, and she will return in the coming months for additional surgeries to repair her cleft palate and separate her fused fingers and toes. Her parents report that she’s a remarkably happy child— as her photos attest—and we have been honored to help her get the special start in life she needed. Stephie’s prayer has been answered with her first surgery. Please help us continue to answer her prayers and the prayers of other children and parents around the world! Half the children of the world do not receive treatment of any kind for these malformations. Everyone’s help is needed—yours most of al —and thank you so much for your continuing generous support!