A three-year-old boy from Morocco named Yahya Zohra has suffered since birth from a condition in which the failure of the bones in his face to form correctly led to a disfiguring appearance. The problem began while Yahya was still in his mother’s womb, with his subsequent birth resulting in him not having either eyes, a nose or upper jaw.
Yahya was born near Tangiers, and has only been able to establish one friendship during his brief time on Earth. That was with a neighborhood child named Heba.
After finding that no Moroccan doctors were capable of addressing the issue, Zohra and his father Mostapha traveled to Melbourne, Australia last year. That was after a woman in that city, Moroccan-born Fatima Bekara, read about Yahya’s plight in a Facebook post.
Bekara, who was battling her own health problems (breast cancer) at the time, put a large amount of effort into finding a doctor who could help. That doctor would turn out to be Dr. Tony Holmes.
Dr. Holmes first met with Yahya and his father in August 2014, to determine how to approach such a delicate surgery. The meeting also allowed him to build a model of Yahya’s skull.
Saying that the surgery was an incredibly difficult challenge, Dr. Holmes described it as the most extreme form of cranio-facial neurosurgery.
Yahya underwent the first of what will be many surgeries in February of this year, with no indication of exactly how many procedures it will take to complete the transformation.