This Boy Was Missing Half Of His Face, But A Total Stranger Paid For His Surgery

by Todd Briscoe
Todd is a LittleThings editor. He grew up in Texas and has lived in New York since 2003. He doesn't own a Boston terrier, but he will one day soon.

When you’re an expectant parent, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst. You want your child to be happy, healthy, and in perfect condition, but if something isn’t quite “perfect,” it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll love your child any less.

The parents of Yahya El Jabaly, a young Moroccan boy, know this very well. There were complications while Yahya was developing in the womb and he was born missing eyes, an upper jaw, and there was a hole in his face where his nose should be.

Likewise, a rare genetic condition that prevented some of his bones from fusing together left Yahya lacking a bone between his brand and forehead.

Australia’s Channel 7 (which also covered our mesmerizing story of Dana Vulin’s dramatic transformation after a maniac set her on fire) recently covered Yahya’s amazing transformation involving a good Samaritan who could see past the little boy’s exterior to see the brave, sweet soul within.

After reading about Yahya’s moving story, please SHARE if you also believe that true beauty is on the inside!

Yahya’s physical appearance might be jarring, at first, but those who get to know him are easily able to see past it. Those who know him personally are just grateful to have him.

Doctors initially thought he wouldn’t survive through infancy as he is blind and the holes in his face are quite susceptible to infection. Many children with this condition do not even survive pregnancy.

Despite these major drawbacks, Yahya has managed to pull through.

His life has its share of complications. He can not see, walk on his own, or even talk. The deformity of his mouth only allows him to express himself through a series of grunts.

Despite his peaceful and sweet personality, his parents have always worried about his future. They’ve known it would be incredible difficult for a boy in his situation.

Many children (and even adults) who have not had the pleasure of meeting him in person have actively avoided him.

Seeing how many ignorant strangers treated their son as a pariah and outcast, his parents wanted to give him the best future they could.

His parents spoke to a variety of surgeons, but they all deemed surgery too risky, or said they were incapable of performing it themselves.


Feeling desperate, the family allowed a family friend to post a photo of Yahya on Facebook to try to spread the word about his condition to find someone willing to perform the surgery.

The story eventually made its way to Australia.

In Australia, the story reached Morocco-born Fatima Baraka who was immensely moved by Yahya’s story. She was familiar with a renowned plastic surgeon by the name of Professor Tony Holmes. Holmes had reached some degree of recognition for his working separating conjoined twins.

Buraka used all of her resources for a total stranger so that Dr. Holmes could be made aware of young Yahya El Jabaly.

Dr. Holmes immediately agreed saying, “I believe that it’s the right of everybody to look human and this kid doesn’t look human.”

The surgery was extremely risky, but his family agreed the taking the chance of giving him a better life would be worth it. This was their little boy, and they needed to do what they could for his future.

The high-risk craniofractural surgery would require separating his brain from his skull.

The surgery took a total of 19 hours (10 hours longer than expected), and was not without complications. The child lost half of his body’s blood during that time.

Yet, the team of dedicated surgeons never gave up. His parents and Fatima waited patiently to see the young man pull through…

Yahya eventually made it — and with a repaired jaw and new nose, Yahya was able to smile for the very first time.

Just weeks after his surgery, the young man was beginning to show improvements and was even beginning to walk on his own.

More surgeries will, unfortunately, be needed. Doctors hope to give him prosthetic eyes, and as he grows he will require more reconstructive surgeries.

Until then, you can see a marked difference in his appearance. And Yahya is just enjoying being a child. He’s now a big brother to a newborn little sister — whose birth fortunately went without any complications.

Yahya’s bright new future is largely in thanks to a brave doctor, and the sensitive stranger, Fatima Baraka who was touched by the little boy’s plight.

She says, “He’s a very smart little kid, he’s got so much potential. There’s no reason for him not to have a good, healthy bright future.”

If you feel moved and would like to donate to Yahya’s future surgeries, you can do so here.

Fatima Baraka has also started a children’s charity. You can read more about her actions here.


h/t: buzzfeed