US teenager bullied for having a big nose given free cosmetic surgery
Fifteen-year-old girl who was terrified of going outside has £7,000 operation to 'balance out her face'
A fifteen-year-old girl from the South Carolina, USA, who was bullied for her looks has been given a free nose job by a charity which claims to “empower children”.
Renata appeared in beauty pageants when she was a child, but by sixth grade she had become withdrawn. The teen, who has not disclosed her full name or hometown, was called “the girl with the big nose” by her tormentors.
She became so terrified of going out in public that her parents decided to teach her from home after she told them she did not want people to see her.
“I'm just afraid I'll never have any friends or anyone to be there for me,” Renata told US network NBC. She is set to appear on the Dateline NBC Little Baby Faces report alongside other teens who have turned to surgery to deal with bullying.
The teen had the $7,000 (£4280) operation after her mother contacted the New York based Little Baby Face Foundation, a charity which provides free plastic surgery for children that they claim have birth defects.
Dr Thomas Ramo said that the group he founded is contacted by hundreds of children requesting operations every year.
“We can't go after the bully - but we can try and empower the children,” Dr Ramo told NBC.
After meeting with Renata, he agreed to perform the surgery as well as a cheek implant to “balance out her face.”
Little Baby Face claims to not provide "cosmetic" surgery, but, rather, surgery to correct birth defects.
Renata’s mother dismissed accusations that the surgery sends the wrong message and equated the procedure to having braces for teeth.
"I dont think it's sending the wrong message – [Renata] still sees what she sees in the mirror and it has an effect on her self-esteem and confidence regardless of what anyone says."
She added: "Parents crack children's teeth with braces to make their teeth straighter - they're still the same kid on the inside. Unfortunately people are judged on how they look."
Following the operation, Renata says she feels confident enough to return to 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 told the programme.
However, Psychologist Vivian Diller who speaks on the programme opposes using "elective surgery as a response to bullying".
"Is there some benefit for learning to struggle against adversity?" she said.
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