When a mother named Joanne got pregnant with her second child, doctors told her he would be born with a facial disfigurement. However, it wasn’t until she delivered Zak, 14 weeks early, that she saw how extreme his condition actually was.
Zak Jacob Coates was born with the rarest form of cleft lip and palate, known asTessier Type 4. The right side of his face was completely disfigured. He suffered cerebral bleeding and heart problems, is blind in his right eye and hasno cheekbones in the right side of his face, no nostrils, no lips, and no bottom eyelid.
Doctors didn’t know if Zak would survive his first few weeks at the hospital, but after two weeks, Joanne was finally able to take him home.
Not only did Zak’s conditionmean potentially lifelong health issues, but the bullying became a common side effect of his facial disfigurement.
Every day, Joanne watchedpeople stare and point at Zak, and he was even been branded a “monster” by complete strangers.
But as Zak grew older, she realized he developed an unbelievable reaction to the cruelty he faced…
Zak Jacob Coates was born 14 weeks early in his England hometown.His mother, Joanne, knew he had a facial disfigurement when she was pregnant with him, but she didn’t know how severeit actually wasuntil he was born.
Joannewas stunned to discover the entire right side of Zak’s face was disfigured.
That’s because the little boywas born with the rarest formof cleft lip and palate, known asTessier Type 4.
Doctors said was the worst case they had ever seen.
Weighing in atjust two pounds, Zak was kept inanincubator until he was strong enough to go home with Joanne.
Hehad no cheekbones in the right side of his face, no nostrils, no lips and no bottom eyelid.
Doctors told Joanne that if he did survive, he probably would not be able to live a “normal” life.
Two weeks later, Joanne brought Zak home.
His health issues went beyond his facial disfigurement.
With cerebral bleeding and heart problems, the next four monthswere touch-and-go.
Despite the fact Joanne and Zak knew he wouldneed manyoperations over the course of his life and that he is blind in one eye the little boy proved to be a fighter who never stopped smiling.
Along with Zak’s facial disfigurement has come a lot of unfortunate bullying. Joanne says people constantly stare and point at her son. He has even been branded a “monster” by strangers.
Zak has good friends at school who have no problem defending him, but he doesn’t necessarily need them to. This incredible child has learned how to deal with bullies in the most mature way.
Whenever someone points or laughs, Zak smiles, approaches the bully and says, “I have a cleft lip and I’m blind in one eye, why are you looking at me?”
He also asks anyone interested if they’d like to know more about his condition.
Today, Zak is10 years old and has undergone at least 28 hours of surgery.
Surpassing the doctor’s expectations, he can eat, speak and drink completely on his own. Hedreams of one day becoming an historian.
Joanne says his humor and confidence has contributed to his overall strength in both mind and body.
Zak’smedical staff has used bone grafts to help create a more symmetrical face shape.
And get this Zak absolutely loves hospitals and the medical staff who works with him. Joanne says this makes things mucheasier and more comfortable.
“I hope others who read his story can gain strength from his confidence and dont allow any cruel comments to hold them back,” Joanne says.
Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/zak-coates-smiles/