Stories about: Dr. John Meara

Catching up with Violet: At home in Oregon

violet before afterEarly 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.

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Life with ‘the little warrior’ 19 months after encephalocele surgery

Owen Sheridan familyPhoto courtesy of Lorrin Sell

Nearly every morning in the quiet, early light, 19-month-old Owen Sheridan awakens not with a cry but with a steady, strong-willed yell, just to tell his parents he’s ready to begin the day.

“We will change his diaper and bring him into bed with us,” says Owen’s mom Jen Sheridan. “He will babble happily. And when he smiles, it is the sweetest thing.”

For the Sheridans, the smile is just one of the many miracles since Owen, the little warrior as they call him, returned home from Boston Children’s Hospital on Jan. 11, 2014.

Born with a rare growth called an encephalocele, Owen was given little chance of survival. During early development, fluid and tissue normally encased in the skull had seeped outwards forming a large mass on top of his head. The growth was so large—more than half his weight—the Sheridans weren’t able to hold him for the first four weeks of life.

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