Early in 2015, Violet, an Oregon toddler with an impish grin and halo of dark curls, inched her way into hearts all over the world. Violet was born with a Tessier cleft — an extremely rare and serious craniofacial anomaly. It’s a highly complex condition requiring specialty care.
Her parents found what their daughter needed at Boston Children’s Hospital. They traveled from Oregon to Boston, where a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. John Meara, Plastic Surgeon-in-Chief, and Dr. Mark Proctor, vice-chair of neurosurgery, undertook a life-changing transformation.
The nine-hour surgery that changed Violet’s face and life took place just over one year ago.
Thriving caught up with her family to find out what Violet, now two-and-a-half, is up to today.
“Violet is like most toddlers. When’s she’s sweet, she’s so sweet. When’s she’s naughty, she’s so naughty,” says Violet’s mom Alicia, joking that Violet and her twin sister Cora are best friends and partners in crime.
With two older brothers who play high school football, it’s no surprise that Violet and Cora are avid football fans who love cheering, clapping and dancing at home games.
What Violet loves most, says Alicia, is playing outside. She and Cora have matching battery-operated quad cars that they drive all over the family’s property. “Violet has gotten really good at steering and is almost right on the nose. She can dodge the swing set and breeze by trees,” says Alicia.
Meanwhile, Meara remains a presence in the family’s life. “He’s always there if I have questions. He’s as responsive as he was on day 1.” Violet and Alicia return for a follow-up appointment at Boston Children’s in spring 2016, and Violet will likely have additional cosmetic repairs prior to kindergarten or first grade.
Violet has reached celebrity status in Boston and her tiny Oregon hometown, but for the most part, Violet is calmly oblivious to her fame. “She just shines. Violet is happy to see everyone,” says Alicia.
Watch Violet’s journey again.