16-year-old Marlie Casseus has undergone four surgeries to remove an 18-pound tumor that covered almost her entire face and hampered her breathing. The entire process was chronicled on the Discovery Health Channel’s A New Face for Marlie.
Marlie suffers from McCune-Albright syndrome (polyostotic fibrous dysplasia), a genetic disorder of bones, skin pigmentation and hormonal problems, along with premature puberty. The growth completely disfigured her facial features, causing her to become reclusive to avoid scorn and repulsion in her native country of Haiti. Most people there believed Marlie’s disfigurement was the work of the devil.
With most of her mouth and nasal passages blocked, Marlie was only able to eat and breathe through one very narrow passage. The tumor began to close on her throat and made breathing difficult. It would have also eventually caused blindness.
All four surgeries were performed at the Holtz Children’s Hospital, at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Florida, and documented for the television program.
The International Kids Fund partnered with Good Samaritan for a Better Life to fund Marlie’s surgeries, which began when she arrived in Miami with a tracheotomy to insert a breathing tube.
After her surgeries, doctors indicated that Marlie might required further cosmetic surgeries at a later date, but said the growth would not return.
The first words Marlie uttered when the tracheotomy was removed were “thank you.”
View photos and video below.