Although it’s widely known about, bullying is a huge problem that doesn’t receive enough attention. If a child feels they have to get a nose job just to interact with peers at school without being teased, you know there is a problem.
TODAY ran a story recently about 15 year old Renata. Her full name is not being revealed. Renata has been homeschooled for the last three years due to relentless teasing from classmates about her appearance. The bullying was such a problem that Renata felt she could not keep going to school.
“I’m just afraid I'll never have any friends or anyone to be there for me,” she said through tears in her interview with TODAY.
Renata and her family decided on plastic surgery in a last-resort attempt to restore her self-esteem and prevent future bullying. The only problem is plastic surgery is expensive. A nose job from a respected plastic surgeon can easily cost $7,000. Desperate for help, Renata and her family turned to the Little Baby Face Foundation.
The Little Baby Face Foundation is a surgery group that offers plastic surgery free of charge to children born with birth defects. The foundation’s leader, Dr. Thomas Romo, says they get thousands letters every year from children who are bullied due to their appearance. Romo and his team agreed to offer Renata surgery.
Doctors determined Renata had a deviated septom and a lopsided face.
“We can't go after the bully - but we can try and empower the children,” Dr. Romo said.
The teenagers mom also spoke to TODAY about the family’s decision to pursue surgery.
“I dont think it's sending the wrong message - (Renata) still sees what she sees in the mirror and it has an affect on her self esteem and confidence regardless of what anyone says,” she said. “Unfortunately, people are judged on how they look.”
After a successful surgery, Renata is now slated to start at a new school.
“I think if (the bullies) see you getting the surgery to fix something that they teased you about it would make them feel bad and maybe it would change their mind about doing it,” she said.