When we saw this story, we were moved to tears.
Seventeen-month-old Tessa Evans was born with a rare condition known as complete congenital arhinia, which impacts only one in every 100 million children. Complete congenital arhinia is a condition where the baby’s nose does not develop in the womb, and the child grows up without one.
Life can be very difficult for a child born with arhinia — and not simply because of the social stigma attached to having such an appearance. Babies are by nature nasal breathers, so when they’re born they can often suffocate. Numerous medical procedures are also needed to ensure the child survives, and that can prove costly. For these and other reasons, some parents choose to abort the fetus when they discover it has this condition. In fact, when little Tessa’s parents first began researching complete congenital arhinia, they discovered that a surgeon believed, “these babies have poor mental and physical abilities and it’s best to terminate the pregnancy.”
Little Tessa’s parents didn’t do that — and they couldn’t be happier with their baby girl. They write on their fundraising page:
It has been an unbelievable and at times heartbreaking year for us watching our tiny baby go through this and knowing that it is really only the beginning of her story. She has overcome so much already. As she has grown, our brave, baby girl has shown us how extraordinary she really is. She is 17 months old now and has surpassed everyones expectations by meeting every milestone and stealing the hearts of everyone she meets.
The family has put out the above video to let other parents see that a baby born without a nose does NOT spell the end. After watching the video, if you’re moved to help baby Tessa, you can donate to her cause.
The parents make it very clear that this is NOT to pay for Tessa’s medical bills. In the United Kingdom, her medical expenses are covered. They state:
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Any money raised will contribute to our day to day caring for Tessa like paying for fuel for regular hospital and specialist appointments, providing special air filters for example to help do the job that a nose should by filtering allergens, irritants and bacteria. Providing family days out so Tessa and her siblings can enjoy normal family life. We would hope to purchase hypoallergenic mattresses and bedding to protect her respiratory system further. We have plans to provide some garden shade so our little girl can enjoy playing outside without the sun hurting the eye which was operated on, leaving her retina exposed and extremely light sensitive. (Without a nose sunglasses are difficult) Due to the beautiful and generous response that our story has had, we will be making donations to two charities that have helped eased our journey over the last 18 months: Changing Faces and Headlines.