Kevin Rosero of Riobamba, Ecaudor was born with a rare malformation on his face that made it difficult for him to eat and speak. But thanks to the surgeons at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital , Rosero’s malformation has been fixed, leaving him feeling “handsome.”
Plastic surgeon Dr. Alex Dagum and neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Woo teamed up to perform a series of 10 surgeries on Rosero over an eight month period. The boy traveled from Ecuador to Long Island in January as part of a program called Blanca’s House that is dedicated to providing modern health care to those would otherwise have no access to it. Rosero stayed in Miller Place, Long Island with a host family as he underwent the surgeries.
The 10-year-old had a rare venous malformation that impacted his lip, face, and mouth. Venous malformations are caused by misshapen veins that enlarge as children get older. The misshapen veins don’t go away on their own and they may even recur after treatment. Doctors feared that Rosero’s malformation — if it continued to grow — would cause blindness or even death.
"The malformation wouldn't allow his teeth to form properly, so he was getting a lot of cavities," said Dr. Woo, co-director of the Cerebrovascular Center at Stony Brook University Hospital. "His tongue and lip were so large that he was constantly drooling. He needed something to hold his lip up just to live."
"His self-confidence and ability to interact with people has changed dramatically for the better," Woo continued. "He's only 10 years old and to be away from your family for such a period of time and go through so many things ... it's incredible."
As her prepared for his return to Ecuador, the staff at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital surprised Rosero by arranging for him to meet the Stony Brook Seawolves, a local soccer team. Rosero is a soccer fan and the Seawolves coach, Ryan Anatol, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet such a remarkable kid.
"When we heard about Kevin's story, we were truly, truly amazed by the strength and the courage that he's shown — not just over the last eight months, but throughout the course of his life," coach Anatol said.
Rosero learned English over the eight months he’s been in the States. He told reporters that he’s sad to leave his host family, but is excited to see his family and friends in Ecuador to show off his new look.
"I want to go see my family and my little brother, because when I was here he was born," he said. "I feel really good, I feel happy. I feel handsome!"