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04/24/2011

UPDATED!!! Yeabsra's transformation begins

Steve Russell - Staff Photographer

UPDATED: Two weeks after the operation Yeabsra and her mother allow us a quick visit.

Newspaper photography sometimes is a series of quick hits through out the day.

But sometimes we are rewarded with a story that is just fascinating to cover.

Leslie Scrivener's story on Yeabsra is one of those stories that we love to cover.

Yeabsra, from Ethiopia is at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for a surgery that will transform her face.

Everyone involved in this story are amazing!

Yeabsra's bravery; her mother's love; people who volunteer their homes, time and shoulders; the good being done by a small charity Transforming Faces Worldwide; the ingenuity of Dr. Christopher Forrest and the calm reassuring confidence that his team brings to a five-year-old who will spend ten hours in an operating room at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Here are some of may favourite moments from a couple of visits with Yeabsra and her team.

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Yeabsra chases bubbles while her mother meets Craniofacial Surgeon Dr. Christopher Forrest at The Hospital for Sick Children. Yeabsra has been brought to Canada and Sick Kids from Ethiopia.

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Yeabsra is entertained with a story while her mother meets Craniofacial Surgeon Dr. Christopher Forrest at The Hospital for Sick Children.

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Jeannie Mott, who has taken in Yeabsra and her mother for their visit to Toronto gets a cuddle on the couch.

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Yeabsra shows off some colouring at the home Jeannie Mott who has taken in the five-year-old and her mother during their time in Toronto. 

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Jeannie tries to answer the phone with Yeabsra in tow. 

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Yeabsra plays with Christmas ornament hangers with her mother Aynalem.

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Yeabsra plays with the Child Life Specialist  Shaindy Alexander at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.  The Child Life Specialist helps her understand what will happen to her.

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 Using dolls and a pair of eyes for her hands Shaindy Alexander identifies Yeabsra's fears and helps her develop mechanisms to cope with them.

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 After an emotional phone call with her father and brother in Ethiopia, Yeabsra and her mother consol each other in the waiting area.

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 Dr. Christopher Forrest and Dr. Brooke French look at Yeabsra's face as they prepare for surgery in a few days at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

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Dr. Christopher Forrest and Dr. Brooke French let Yeabsra look at a model of her skull prepared before the surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

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In the operating room a pair of model's of Yeabsra's skulls sit. The surgeons will perform a practice surgery on the skull on the left that has all the cuts outlined on it.

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In the operating room where the surgery will take place Dr. Christopher Forrest and Dr. Brooke French "rehearse" Yeabsra's surgery on one of the replicas.

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As reporter Leslie Scrivener watches, Dr. Christopher Forrest and Dr. Brooke French practice the Facial Bipartition operation they will perform on Yeabsra in the operating room at Sick Kids.

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The benefit of having exact models of Yeabsra's skull is that Cranianal Facial Surgeon Dr. Christopher Forrest and Dr. Brooke French can see exactly how things will line up and can plan the operation to make it go as quickly as possible.

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On the day of the surgery, some of Dr. Forrest's instruments sit ready.

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Two days after the practice surgery, which were two days for Dr. Christopher Forrest to think about the surgery a little more yielded some changes from the end of the rehearsal. The forehead has bee flipped around and the bone from the space between the two holes is used to create a base for a nose. Dr. Forrest used some of his child's plasticene to create a model of a nose so he cold make a  template for how much skin he needs.

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One of five doctors in to observe the surgery examines the pair of skulls and of the pre-op images of Yeabsra.

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 Dr. Mekonen Eshete is visiting from Ethiopia to observe the surgery. Cranianal Facial Surgeon Dr. Christopher Forrest and a large team of surgeons, anesthetists and nurses begin the Facial Bipartition operation on Yeabsra. Yeabsra has been brought to Canada and Sick Kids from Ethiopia throughTransforming Faces Worldwide.

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Dr. Christopher Forrest and a large team of surgeons, anesthetists and nurses begin the Facial Bipartition operation on Yeabsra.

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On a nearby table, next to the box that holds the surgical telescopes for Dr. Brooke French, Yeabsra's doll sits in the operating room awaiting her. The doll would go missing after the surgery but it was replaced by others.

Two weeks later.....

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Yeabsra gets a caress from Child Life Specialist  Shaindy Alexander as she plays in the activity room on her floor at the Hospital for Sick Children. Sr-Yeabsra-visit06-09
 Even with her eyes recently moved 30mm closer Yeabsra still has the dexterity to thread beads on a string for a necklace and bracelets.

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Yeabsra makes necklace and bracelets as she plays in the activity room on her floor at the Hospital for Sick Children two weeks after her facial bipartition surgery that removed 30mm of bone between her eyes.

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 Her mother's prayer book and a get well card sit in Yeabsra's room at the Hospital for Sick Children.

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A few basic phrases in Amharic that staff might need to ask Yeabsra are taped to the door of her room.

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Aynalem gives Yeabsra's nose a wipe, Yeabsra will have another surgery before going back to Ethiopia to make a nose for her. Part of her skull was used to create a support.

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Smiles come easier to Yeabsra's mother two weeks after the surgey at the Hospital for Sick Children.

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Yeabsra shares a smile.

Read Leslie Scrivener's story here!

 

 

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Thanks to the Transforming Face World Wide and all health professionals involved in Transforming Yabsira's Face.The smile has come to not only Yabsira's and her mother's face but also to millions of Ethiopians and the people who donate for TFW.

I believe that he smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. “Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” Quoted by Theodore Isaac Rubin

May God Bless you all for what your for this innocent African Child

Tariku Tsegaye (tariku_ts@yahoo.com)

Speech and Language Pathologist
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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