Nicole was born with a large bump below her lower lip. Her mother, Lynn was a single mother who worked part-time at Vons to try and make ends meet – she even resorted to welfare to help keep her family alive and healthy. Lynn barely had enough money to keep her family off the streets, let alone pay for the medical care needed for the bump that was continuing to grow near Nicole’s lip. Nicole was ridiculed because of her “bump” from her peers and children would laugh and point at her; some children would even tell Nicole horrible things, one child told Nicole: “You’ll never be pretty again.”
Nicole and Lynn visited over a dozen doctors attempting to diagnose Nicole’s condition, but none of them were of any help. Nicole and her mother almost gave up hope, that is until they found Dr. Nigro, the founder of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. He immediately recognized the bump as a hemangioma, a benign cluster of cells and blood vessels, and immediately accepted Nicole’s case. When Nicole was just five years old she we went to Dr. Nigro for her first surgery where he performed reconstructive surgeries to fix her lip and allow her to shut her mouth. When Nicole was in kindergarten Dr. Nigro reconstructed her lips and eased some of the humiliation that Nicole felt on a daily basis.
Nicole’s first surgery was now almost 20 years ago. Nicole is now a young adult living on her own with her son who is five and just started kindergarten. Nicole graduated high school and recently completed a Certified Nursing Assistant Program and is working full-time as a caregiver. Nicole has been a patient with Fresh Start off and on for over 20 years now and has received countless reconstructive surgeries, laser treatments, and other procedures all performed by volunteer medical professionals.
Although the journey has been long, over the past few months Nicole received her final treatments and is now an official graduate of the Fresh Start program.