SCHOOLBOY Ethan Giles-Bowman says goodbye to his hair as he undergoes a charity head shave ahead of pioneering surgery today.
The nine-year-old was told by surgeons he would need to lose his locks before the operation – the second phase in a procedure which will give him a complete right ear for the first time.
So he decided to make the experience worthwhile, and asked for sponsorship in a charity headshave – the £200 proceeds of which will go to the Goldenhar Family Support Group for people with the condition Ethan was born with, which caused his ear to be missing.
Today Ethan is at the Royal Free Hospital in London undergoing surgery on his ear for the second time.
The first stage saw surgeon Greg O’Toole – who trained at Sheffield University’s medical school – create a new ear out of cartilage from Ethan’s ribs.
The operation today will now ‘release’ the ear from the side of his head – opening it up like a normal ear. A skin graft will also be taken from his scalp to cover the wound behind.
Mum Kathryn, aged 39, from Deepcar, said: “Today’s operation is about making it look more realistic, more like a normal ear.
“It will also mean he can balance sunglasses on it for the first time which is something he is excited about!
“He was feeling a little nervous ahead of the event and went through a bit of a wobbly moment, but I sat down with him and talked it all through – checking that this is definitely what he wants – and he decided it was. We are nervous about it as you can imagine, but we are being strong for him. We just want whatever is best for him and makes him feel good.”
Ethan was born with hemifacial microsomia – a strain of Goldenhar Syndrome – which meant his right ear was originally little more than a lobe. He has no hearing on his right side.
He also has problems with his jaw and cheekbones, which are likely to lead to further surgery as he enters his teenage years.The Deepcar St John’s primary school pupil has also recently been to see specialists at Sheffield Children’s Hospital about the possibility of having a bone-anchored hearing aid fitted.
Although the new ear will look realistic, its purpose will be only cosmetic, so a surgically implanted device would transmit sound by direct conduction through bone to the inner ear.
Kathryn – married to Richard, and also mum to Leigh, 13, and Harley, one – said Ethan would be enjoying some recovery time over the summer holidays before proceeding with the plan in the coming months.
In the meantime the family are busy getting ready for a fun day on August 7 at Bracken Moor Sports Club in Bracken Moor Lane, Stocksbridge, in aid of the Goldenhar Family Support Group. The event will welcome Dr Chris Steele MBE, resident doctor on ITV’s This morning and a patron of the charity.
There will also be a two-mile fancy dress fun run to Bolsterstone and back, with prizes for the best costumes, as well as stalls, games, a raffle, a tombola, dancing displays and face painting. Call Kathryn on 07855 338897.