What an inspiring story from the Daily Mail!
A toddler who was born with no eyes, a hole in the middle of his face where his nose should be and no upper jaw has undergone reconstructive surgery and unveiled his new face.
Last year Australians were captivated by three-year-old Yahya El Jabaly’s story after he was brought to Australia for help thanks to an incredible Melbourne woman.
The Moroccan-born toddler, who lived in a small village six hours from Casablanca before he was flown to Australia for surgery, was born deformed after complications in the womb stopped the bones in his face from fusing together.
Now, after undergoing an 18-hour life-changing operation, the miracle child has been given the chance to live a normal life thanks to Melbourne doctors who remodeled the bones on his face.
Despite his incredibly rare condition Yahya defied all odds by surviving in the womb and managed to grow into a happy and healthy toddler.
However he was a social outcast in his hometown and his parents kept him hidden away, believing his appearance was too confronting for some.
They covered their son up when he left the house and due to the lack of roofing on his mouth he was unable to speak and could only communicate through grunting noises.
Upon seeing their son’s new face for the first time after Dr Tony Holmes – who separated Bangladeshi-born twins Trishna and Krishna – spent nearly a day on his delicate surgery, his parents dissolved into tears of joy.
‘It’s a huge joy, a huge happiness to see my son in such a situation,’ Yahya’s father Mostafa told Channel Seven’s Sunday Night.
The surgery was expected to take up to eight hours but went on for over 18 hours during which Yahya lost nearly half of the blood from his body and had the lining of his brain dissected from his skull.
A team of surgeons worked in shift rotation and the pricey surgery was funded partly by donations and doctors who offered their services free of charge.
Yahya’s plight first went global when the father of his closest friend took to Facebook, pleading for medical professionals to help the boy lead a normal life.
From across the world, the post was read by Fatima Baraka, a Melbourne breast cancer survivor who was born in a village close to Yahya’s.
Ms Baraka took it upon herself to search for a surgeon who would be willing to transform Yahya’s face and soon found Melbourne reconstructive surgeon, Tony Holmes.
She then traveled to Yahya’s home where she met the toddler and his family for the first time before bringing them to Australia.
‘I just can’t believe what he’s been through and how he just comes out and gets better and better every time,’ Ms Baraka said two weeks after Yahya’s successful facial surgery.
‘He looks like a normal little boy.
‘He’s a very smart little kid, he’s got so much potential, there’s no reason for him not to have a good, healthy bright future.’
Ms Baraka said the little boy ‘entered her heart’ and she instantly fell in love with him however she admits she was ‘quite shocked’ when she first met Yahya and his family.
‘I was a little bit horrified to be honest,’ she said.
Yahya and his parents met Dr Holmes after being flown to Melbourne where the three-year-old underwent a range of developmental tests from CT scans to MRI’s, to confirm how his brain functioned and if he was suitable for surgery.
Despite the serious risks involved, Dr Holmes soon agreed to operate on the toddler.
‘I think this one is about as difficult as it gets. A 9.5-out-of-10 degree of difficulty,’ Dr Holmes told Channel Seven’s Sunday Night.
‘Yahya may not die if we don’t operate but he might if we do.
‘I believe that it’s the right of everybody to look human and this kid doesn’t look human.’
Yahya underwent surgery in December, when Dr Holmes brought the two sides of his skull together and built him a nose with his own skin.
There is also a chance that the toddler will be able to speak after the procedure due to his vocal chords remaining intact.
‘We’re not experimenting on him, we want to get a good result,’ Dr Holmes said before the surgery.
Speaking after Yahya came out of surgery Dr Holmes was ecstatic at the results and delighted at his parent’s reactions.
‘When they first saw him you could just tell that they were just stunned and so happy’ he said.
Just weeks after being on the operating table, Yahya’s face was healing, he was smiling and he even seemed to be humming a tune.
‘The risks of the operation were great but I think they were worth it so that he could have a decent life,’ Dr Holmes said.
Five weeks after the surgery Yahya’s parent’s welcomed a new addition into their family after his mother gave birth to a baby girl.
After initially being afraid she may suffer from the same deformed facial features as Yahya they were relieved when she was given the all clear.
While the inspirational little boy still needs some prosthetic eyes and more surgery on his nose, he is learning to walk and his life has changed forever.
Check out this article on what to explore in and around Tangier. For the best accommodation in Morocco, stay at the Grand Hotel Villa de France or the Hotel El Minzah, both wonderful historic properties part of the General Mediterranean Holding Group owned by Sir Nadhmi Auchi.