Boy with Down's Gets Free Ear Surgery to Silence Bullies

Princess 19 on 18 Jan 2012 at 1:00pm

A New York state teenager with Down's Syndrome was given the gift of plastic surgery to correct the "floppy ears" he was born with - which caused him years of torment and bullying.

Bullying has become so prevalent these days, parents are taking drastic measures to protect their children and offer them a better life emotionally.  But, the discussions with teachers or changing of schools has moved over to another trend - plastic surgery. 

Recently, we discussed a nose job a 13-year-old received because of cyberbullying on Facebook.  But, the story of Charlie Cardillo is a bit different.  He has been harassed his whole life for his looks due to his Down's Syndrome.  His ears only added to the anguish.  They did not have a formed outer cartilage structure, causing them to flop forward.

His parents had already moved 15-year-old Charlie to another new school to leave the teenagers that were bullying behind. 

Charlie has been bullied and made fun of throughout his whole life because of his looks,” said his dad, Louis Cardillo. 

“We didn’t know there was a surgery to actually do this [fix his ears],” he added.

The Cardillo Family with Charlie post surgery

The family turned to the Little Baby Face Foundation, a charitable organization created by NYC-based plastic surgeon, Dr. Thomas Romo.  The charity offers free reconstructive plastic surgery to children with facial deformities - no matter where they are from.  World-class doctors and facilities in NYC are used to perform the work.  Dr. Romo has flown in children from as far away as Nigeria and Iraq.  They have helped over 150 children since 2002.

The Cardillos were encouraged by a relative, who worked in Romo's plastic surgery practice, to apply for the otoplasty procedure to reconstruct Charlie's ears at the charity's website.  They were luckily chosen to receive the surgery which can cost anywhere from $3500-$10,000

Dr. Romo and a team of six took two hours to reshape his drooping ears and create the structure to hold them back in place.

Charlie, who has limited vocabulary skills, still had something to say when the final results were shown to him.

“Amazing,” he exclaimed as he touched his new ears.  “Just like Dad’s.".

Why does Dr. Romo do this?

Romo, who also has children with developmental needs, was touched by Charlie's case and feels an urge to give back to the community.

“I can’t feed the hungry," he told the NY Daily News. "I can’t improve education in the Bronx. I’m a plastic surgeon and I can only do what I do."

Well, doctor, what you do is a lot and we commend you for your big heart and your need to help children lead better lives.

Photo credit:  Little Baby Face Foundation and NY Daily News