Who would have thought a social networking site could save a life? Facebook has recently proven this. A rowdy 17-month-old boy from Britain, Colby Ramos-Francis, was at risk of becoming blind due to a giant tumor on his eyelid. However, because of a Facebook posting that touched the hearts of American surgeons, this little boy’s life is changed forever.
Colby’s vision was blocked due to a hemangioma – a tangle of malformed blood vessels – that grew uncontrollably large. The tumor was so awful that some people wondered if the parents were abusing the young boy.
Colby and his parents, James Francis and Aimee Ramos-Price, live in the small town of Corsham, 90 miles from London. The sad parents were told they could do nothing about the birth defect and the constant suspicion of child abuse began weighing on them.
“We’ve been asked if we hit Colby,” Ramos-Price, told a reporter in an interview with TODAY. “I mean it’s been difficult … going to the doctors’ appointments, as well as going to the social worker.” His parents hoped that the growth would fade with time, like most hemangiomas do. But it just continued to expand, eventually turning into a tumor. Occasionally the tumor would bleed, causing pressure on his cornea, greatly affecting his vision.
The little boy’s parents finally took action. Ignoring the doctor’s advice to “just wait and see”, the parents turned to Facebook, in hopes of reaching out to others who experienced their struggle. However, they caught the attention of Dr. Milton Waner instead. Waner, the director of the Vascular Birthmark Institute of New York at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, contacted The Little Baby Face Foundation, a charitable organization that pays for reconstructive surgery. The foundation paid the entire bill that allowed for Colby to receive surgery on February 4th.
“It was critical to get this tumor off to really preserve his vision,” said one of Colby’s surgeons, Dr. Thomas Romo III, founder of The Little Baby Face Foundation and director of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital.
While Romo has made it clear that Colby may have lost some significant vision, the little boy is no longer burdened by the serious risk of blindness. After this surgery, doctors said Colby’s sight is better, but they would know more when his stitches are removed later this week. In six months Colby will have a follow-up surgery.
Colby’s parents look forward to their young boys future and new chance to be treated like a “normal child”.
“We want him to be able to play with children and not have children be scared of him,” said Francis. And thanks to his parents Facebook post, now Colby can.