December 14, 2005

Marlie Casseus First Step Toward A New Life Begins

By Tim | December 14, 2005 | Tags: Health, Northern America |

** An Important Update Has Been Logged: Click Here! **

Note: you can send your well-wishes for Marlie Casseus to info@wonderfund.org. They’ll make sure Marlie gets them.

Marlie Casseus is taking a first step toward a new life with today’s surgery. Surgeons are today attempting to remove a disfiguring 16 pound tumor that is also threatening her life:

Miami Herald—This morning, a surgeon will slice into the tortured face of a 14-year-old Haitian girl so disfigured by a tumor-like growth that she can barely swallow or breathe and is going blind.

In a 12-hour operation, doctors at Miami’s Holtz Children’s Hospital will begin ”debulking” the 16-pound protuberance that makes Marlie Casseus look as if a large eggplant was somehow inserted under her facial features.

It’s sure to be ”extremely bloody,” according to oral/maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Jesus Gomez, who will use a saw and a scraping tool called a curette. . . .

Related Stories:

Help Marlie Casseus

Update

Surgeons completed their surgery on Marlie late last night. Local10 says she is in critical, but stable condition. The outcome of her surgery is unknown.

Source: Local10

Update (12/16/2005 2:42pm):

Marlie Casseus’ surgery went great and much better than expected:

TampaBays10—Doctors say the operation went so smoothly they were able to remove the mass from both sides of Marlie’s face and reconstruct much of her nose. They had expected to be able to do only one side. . . .

Update (12/17/2005 7:38am):

Details of Marlie Casseus’ operation are now coming out:

Miami Herald—The plan had been to remove only part of the huge growth distending Marlie Casseus’s upper face and leave the rest for future surgeries, but the operation went so well that doctors just kept going.

By the time they’d tied off the last of about 2,500 stitches just minutes before midnight Wednesday, surgeons at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center’s Holtz Children’s Hospital had opened the 14-year-old Haitian girl’s face like a book and excised nine pounds of jelly-like fibrous tissue, bone fragments, teeth and fluid. . . .

Click the link in the excerpt above to read the full story; it’s amazing what the surgeons have done.

Update (12/17/2005 7:39pm):

Marlie Casseus After SurgeryThis is a photograph provided by Jackson Memorial Hospital of Marlie Casseus after her surgery.

photo credit: NBC6

My heart really breaks for this little girl, but thanks to God and many, many good people around the world Marlie has taken the first step toward a new life and I’m so happy for her.

NBC6 has the incredible story of her surgery: [ click here ]

Update (12/21/2005 2:24pm):

I just spoke with the hospital about Marlie; her condition has been upgraded from “critical, but stable” to “good.”

Update (1/16/2006 7:32am):

Marlie has a second surgery scheduled for January 26th. I’ll see what I can find out.

Source: NBC6

Update (1/16/2006 4:07pm):

Here’s the latest on Marlie from the good folks at International Kids Fund:

Marlie is doing fine. She’s resting and gaining strength, watching TV, reading and playing. Marlie has really enjoyed all the cards and the gifts that people have sent to her.

Marlie was asked recently how she felt; she said that she felt “light.”

Marlie is on campus now. And she is looking forward to her next surgery on January 26th at Holtz Children’s Hospital.

During this second surgery, surgeons will focus on debulking her jaw/lower lip area. Surgeons will also use a titanium plate to reshape her jaw. The surgery is expected to take about seven hours.

Best wishes Marlie, God bless.

# # #

International Kids Fund continues to collect donations for Marlie. Her next surgery is expected to cost $90,000 USD.

IKF Wonderfund (Marlie Casseus)

Update (1/26/2006 1:43pm):

Marlie is having her second surgery today. Her doctors will unveil the results of her surgery during a press conference tomorrow at UM/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Update (1/27/2006 8:20pm):

Tonight, Marlie is in critical, but stable condition after surgeons removed the remaining mass on her face yesterday. Dr. Jesus Gomez—University of Miami Miller School of Medicine maxillofacial surgeon—said he considered the operation “as successful as the first one and even more so, as Marlie’s face is now visibly free of the mass.”

Second surgery: Marlie Casseus

International Kids Fund (IKF) said that during Marlie’s second surgery, “the medical team focused on reconstructing Marlie’s mandible and the articulation that unites her mandible with the lower part of her skull. In addition, doctors fixed the floor of her mouth to allow her to move her tongue and chew. For the reconstruction, they made an incision in her neck and lower lip, opened her mandible like an open book, removed the mass—which, after being split in two, was the size of two big fists—and inserted a titanium plate to replace the bones in the area that had been affected by the dyplasia.”

Marlie will require two more surgeries and IKF continues to raise funds for those surgeries. “We want to thank every single person who contributed to Marlie’s healthcare; we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Maria-Luisa Chea, director of IKF. “Let’s unite once again to finish what we started. What we have achieved so far is just the tip of the iceberg; we ask the public to continue their support, as we cannot turn our backs on Marlie now that she is so close to leading a normal life.”

Donate here [ Internation Kids Fund: Marlie Casseus ]

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute ocular plastic surgeon Kami Parsa and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine surgeons Giancarlo Bland and Vincent Coviello took part in the procedure.

Best wishes Marlie, our hearts and prayers will continue to be with you.

Related Stories:

Washington Post: Haitian Teen Has Second Surgery on Face

Update (3/20/2006 7:00pm):

Last update I received was that Marlie would be recuperating in Haiti. And she’s supposed to be doing well.

Update (7/12/2006 11:38am):

Marlie Casseus will be having her third surgery tomorrow, July 13th, at 8am.

IKJ—Marlie Casseus, the Haitian girl that caught the world’s attention in 2005 because of the 16 pound tumor-like growth on her face, is now preparing once again to undergo surgery, tomorrow July 13th at 8:00 a.m. at Holtz Children’s Hospital.

Six months after her last surgery, in which the tumor-like growth on her face was completely extracted, the team of doctors led by Jesús Gómez D.D.S., a maxillofacial surgeon from the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, will reconstruct the upper midface, forming a nasal bridge and upper lip and correcting her hipertelorism or extreme separation of her eyes.

“This operation will give Marlie a more structured face, reconstructing the parts that have been lost, and also provide support to her eyes,” explained Dr. Gómez. The medical team will use an implant of polyetilen, which comes in small parts, allowing them to rebuild Marlie’s features. During the operation, estimated to last approximately nine hours, Dr. Gómez will be accompanied by ocular plastic surgeons Wendy Lee and Kami Parsa, from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Marlie still has a long way to go; she will probably need one or two additional cosmetic surgeries. This is why the International Kids Fund (IKF), the non-profit organization that has sponsored her medical treatment, continues to raise funds to help her.

“My daughter and I are infinitely thankful for the help we have received and hope people continue lending us a hand because my little girl still needs more surgeries”, said the girl’s mother, Maleine Antoine.

People interested in making a tax-deductible donation to IKF can mail their check or money order to:

International Kids Fund
Re: Marlie Casseus
P.O. Box 012297
Miami, FL 33101
Miami Phone: 305-585-5888
Toll Free: 1-877-IKF-KIDS (1-877-453-5437)

Remember her in prayer that all will go well.

Update (7/13/2006 2:53pm):

No word on Marlie’s condition yet, still waiting.

Update (7/13/2006 8:00pm):

Here’s the update I received:

Marlie Casseus underwent her third surgery earlier today at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami. The surgery began at 10:18 a.m. and was completed at 6:58 p.m. During the eight hour and 40 minutes operation and reconstruction of the upper mid portion of her face, Marlie’s nasal bridge and upper lip were formed and the separation of her eyes was corrected.

Marlie is currently in critical but stable condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Update (7/14/2006 6:37pm):

Marlie Casseus After Her Third Surgery

This is a copy of the press release regarding Marlie’s third surgery:

IKJ—Marlie Casseus, the Haitian girl with a 16 pound tumor-like growth on her face, is recovering from the third surgery conducted yesterday at Holtz Children’s Hospital to reconstruct the upper mid-portion of her face.

Six months after her last surgery, the team of doctors led by Jesús Gómez D.D.S., a maxillofacial surgeon from the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, rebuilt her upper midface, forming a nasal bridge and upper lip and correcting her hipertelorism or extreme separation of her eyes.

“The operation went really well for Marlie and she is now recovering at the Intensive Care Unit. We have used an implant that comes in small parts, enabling us to give more harmony to her features” explained Dr. Gómez. During the operation, a team of specialists accompanied Dr. Gómez, among them ocular plastic surgeons Wendy Lee and Kami Parsa, from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Marlie will still need one or two more cosmetic surgeries and the International Kids Fund (IKF), a program of the Jackson Memorial Foundation that has sponsored her medical treatment, continues to raise funds to help her.

“She continues to improve every day emotionally and physically. Like many kids her age, she likes playing videogames and watching television, but above all, Marlie enjoys reading books for hours, especially cook books. She is an adolescent that has the hope and will to live, to be a normal person, to go to school and become a great artist when she grows up,” stated Maria Luisa Chea, director of IKF.

Shortly after her second operation Marlie was able to visit her family back in Haiti and also the Make a Wish Foundation granted her the opportunity to visit Disney. “Marlie is very happy because her life has completely changed and recently, for her 15th birthday, she told me her greatest wish is to be able to eat normally and go home,” said the girl’s mother, Maleine Antoine.

Marlie’s tumor-like growth had been brought about by a rare condition named Polysostotic Fibrous Dysplasia, which is characterized by uneven growth, pain, brittleness and deformity of the affected bones. The growth first became evident six years ago and it grew over Marlie’s nose and mouth, rendering her unable to eat, breathe or speak on her own. Before the two operations conducted last December and January by Dr. Gómez and his medical team at Holtz Children’s Hospital, only her eyes, nostrils and a tooth could be recognized from her severely swollen face.

People interested in making a tax-deductible donation to IKF can mail their check or money order to:

International Kids Fund
Re: Marlie Casseus
P.O. Box 012297
Miami, FL 33101
Miami Phone: 305-585-5888
Toll Free: 1-877-IKF-KIDS (1-877-453-5437)

It is very important to include “Marlie Casseus” on your check or money order in order to allocate the funds properly.

Donations can also be made online by visiting www.internationalkidsfund.org.

For further information, potential donors may also write to info@internationalkidsfund.org.

About the International Kids Fund (IKF)

The International Kids Fund (IKF) at Holtz Children’s Hospital, a program of the Jackson Memorial Foundation, seeks to provide medical care to needy children from around the world who suffer from serious illnesses that cannot be treated in their countries. The fund ensures these children receive the best care possible at Holtz Children’s Hospital of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, one of the nation’s premier teaching hospitals. For more information or to make a contribution, contact the International Kids Fund at: P.O. Box 012297, Miami, FL 33101; 1 877 IKF KIDS; www.internationalkidsfund.org; or info@internationalkidsfund.org.

A higher resolution image of the above photo is available; just email me. The photo is about 1 mb in size.

Best wishes to Marlie; get well soon!

Update (7/19/2006 7:45pm):

Latest update on Marlie’s condition:

She is in the Intensive Care Unit, in good condition and recovering well from the surgery.

Update (8/7/2006 7:33am):

Did anyone see the story about Marlie on Discovery Health last night? It was heartbreaking in ways, seeing how Marlie has suffered. I was really touched when I saw Marlie cry after seeing herself in a mirror after her first surgery. Marlie was really looking good after the second surgery and I imagine that after her third surgery she’s even better! Marlie has been through so much, but she has made great strides toward a new life thanks to many good people.

Thanks to all that have helped her; without you, where would she be today?

God bless you and God bless Marlie and her family.

Update (9/28/2006 8:30pm):

International Kids Fund (IKF) held a press conference today that included Marlie Casseus and her mother (Maleine Antoine), Dr. Jesus Gomez, and María Luisa Chea, International Kids Fund director. Here are some photos from the event courtesy of IKF (click the image to see it full-size):

Dr. Jesus Gomez, Marlie Casseus, and  Maleine Antoine

Marlie Casseus and María Luisa Chea

Dr. Jesus Gomez and Marlie Casseus

IKF said Marlie’s fourth and final surgery will take place October 5th at Holtz Childrens Hospital. Funds are still needed for Marlie’s surgeries so give if you can. Here is today’s press release regarding the event:

International Kids Fund (IKF)—Marlie Casseus, the Haitian girl that arrived in Miami a year ago with a 16 pound tumor-like growth on her face, will undergo surgery on October 5th for the fourth and final time at Holtz Children’s Hospital on the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

During this last surgery, the medical team led by Jesús Gómez D.D.S., a maxillofacial surgeon from the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, will reconstruct Marlie’s lower face, reestablishing her jawbone and reducing the abnormal opening of her mouth allowing her to close it, swallow and speak.

“This operation will give Marlie a more structured face and will allow her to regain control of the normal functions of her mouth and jaw,” explained Dr. Gómez. The medical team will use a metal plate that can be molded, allowing them to rebuild the features of the girl’s lower face. This is expected to be Marlie’s last surgery in the near future. Dr. Gómez will keep monitoring her status to determine the next steps.

The International Kids Fund (IKF), the non-profit organization sponsoring her medical treatment continues to raise funds to help her. “This has been a long journey for Marlie, but since arriving in Miami a year ago her life has taken a very positive turn. Thanks to the help of the community and people from around the world, Marlie is a happy girl desiring to live a normal and productive life. We are once again asking for your contributions to help us complete the mission,” stated María Luisa Chea, IKF director.

Last August Marlie returned to Haiti to visit her family, which was greatly impressed by the progress she has made, not only physically but emotionally. “My daughter’s agony is almost over. After every operation she looks in the mirror, becomes excited and waves her hands to the sky thanking God. I will always be infinitely thankful to all those who helped us get to this point,” said Maleine Antoine while hugging her daughter.

Marlie’s growth was brought about by a rare genetic condition named polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, which is characterized by uneven growth, pain, brittleness and deformity of the affected bones. The growth first became evident six years ago and overcame Marlie’s nose and mouth, rendering her unable to eat, breathe or speak on her own. Only her eyes, nostrils and a tooth could be recognized from her severely swollen face. Since December 2005, the adolescent, with the help of IKF and donations from all over the U.S. and around the world, has undergone various surgeries to remove the tumor-like growth and reconstruct her face.

IKF’s fund raising campaign for Marlie’s fourth and last operation took place today during a news conference at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Present were: Marlie and her mother, Dr. Gómez and Maria Luisa Chea.

How to help

People interested in making a tax-deductible donation to IKF for Marlie’s treatment can mail their check or money order to:

International Kids Fund
Re: Marlie Casseus
P.O. Box 012297
Miami, FL 33101
Miami Phone: 305-585-5888
Toll Free: 1-877-IKF-KIDS (1-877-453-5437)

It is very important to include “Marlie Casseus” on your check or money order in order to allocate the funds properly.

Donations can also be made online by visiting www.internationalkidsfund.org.

For further information, potential donors may also write to info@internationalkidsfund.org.

About the International Kids Fund (IKF)

The International Kids Fund (IKF) at Holtz Children’s Hospital, a program of the Jackson Memorial Foundation, seeks to provide medical care to needy children from around the world who suffer from serious illnesses that cannot be treated in their countries. The fund ensures these children receive the best care possible at Holtz Children’s Hospital of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, one of the nation’s premier teaching hospitals. For more information or to make a contribution, contact the International Kids Fund at: P.O. Box 012297, Miami, FL 33101; 1 877 IKF KIDS; www.internationalkidsfund.org; or info@internationalkidsfund.org.

Thanks IKF for doing so much to help Marlie; God bless you, Marlie, her family, and the many good people who have reached out to help a little girl in desperate need.

Update (10/5/2006 11:26am):

Marlie Casseus is having her fourth and final surgery today at Holtz Childrens Hospital in Miami. Keep her in your prayers.

Update (10/7/2006 7:33am):

Marlie’s surgery apparently went well Thursday. During the nearly six hour surgery, Dr. Jesus Gomez and his team of surgeons reconstructed marlie’s lower portion of Marlie’s face. The orginal titanium plate was removed, and replaced with a new and improved titanium plate. Friday, Marlie was said to be in critical, but stable condition. Best wishes Marlie.

Here is a photograph of Marlie after the surgery:

Marlie Casseus after her fouth surgery

Update (1/19/2010 10:38am):

IKF’s Wonderfund joyfully report’s this morning that Marlie Casseus and her family survived the devastating earthquake.

Another of Wonderfund’s kids, Dahana David, also survived as well as a “beloved” volunteer—Gina Eugene.

In an effort to help suffering Haitians, Wonderfund has launched Haiti’s Children Fund. It is collecting donations via their website: www.wonderfund.org/donate.php

It says the donations will be used to provide “life-saving medical care to Haitian children that must receive care in the U.S.”

Great news this morning; thank the Lord!

 

116 Comments

  • Sharon says:

    I have followed the story of Marlie and her family since she was brought to international attention last year. Despite the growth, Marlie was so beautiful inside. Nothing could hide her SPIRIT. Thank you IKF for giving us the chance to be a part of her healing. Many thanks to Dr Jesus Gomez and the team of physicians, nurses and caretakers in Miami.

    To Marlie and family: God heard your cries and your prayers for help. Now may God hear all our prayers for a long lifetime of health, joy, beauty and grace.

  • Diana says:

    Dear Marlie,
    I watched the show and i can tell you tears couldnt stop falling from my eyes, i was touched by the incredible faith you and your family have, despite all the trials you have all endured.God will prevail. I was also touched by the amount of courage you have to go through such an ordeal. I stopped to think about all the little things we as humans worry and make a big fuss about. I admire you cause you made me realize the things that really matter in life, like having Faith,believeing there is a God watching over us that never leaves our side, Love and Family.I admire your mom and dad, iam a mom of two and I My heart goes out to them as well.
    My prayers will always be with you and your Family
    God Bless you always

  • Carla says:

    May our Lord Jesus Christ bless Marlie and her family. I pray that his healing power give Marlie a complete recovery. My heart was humbled by her ordeal. I am eager to hear of how her future goes.
    She is a precious young girl.
    In the Name of Jesus bless Marlie

    Thank you
    Carla
    Seattle, WA

  • Suzy says:

    Dearest Marlie,

    I saw your story very late last night on TLC. I wish I would have known about it sooner. You touched my heart and life and are so very courageous. When you and your family cried I cried. God is watching over you Marlie and always will. May God bless you and keep you and your family safe.

    I want to say thank you Marlie’s family for maintaining their strength and faith, to the twin sisters for finding her, to Dr. Gomez and the other doctors who made this transformation and miracle possible along with IKF. Their efforts should never go unnoticed. They bring hope to all of us.

    Lastly, I look forward to seeing more information on stories like yours on TLC and about your continuous steps towards a full recovery because stories like your should never ever stop.

    With much love,

    Suzy
    Cleveland Ohio

  • Jennifer says:

    I watched the show on the Discovery Channel. It touched my heart. Marlie is a precious girl, and I wish her and her family the best. I hope all her future surgeries turn out great, because she deserves to be a normal girl again. God is with her and her family.

    With Love,
    Jennifer
    Dallas, Texas
    God bless America

  • melissa says:

    Praise God for he is great…Keep up your strength you are courageous and gentle and will touch many lives..Bless you Marlie

    love melissa
    God bless the USA

  • Tosha Adams says:

    Marlie, may God continue to bless you and your family as you all continually give Him praises. It was no coincidence your doctor’s name was Jesus! Hallelujah to the King of Kings. Your sister in Christ,

    Tosha

  • Crystal says:

    Precious Marlie –

    I saw your story on the Discovery channel and was completley amazed. Not as amazed by the disease, but more so by you. What an incredible little girl you are! I’ve never seen anyone with your strength. You are a true inspiration to us all.

    God, along with people from all over the world are with you in this. You are not alone little Marlie. We are all God’s children. He loves us equally. I will keep you and your family in my prayers….and you will always be in my thoughts. Good luck to you and God bless.

    You are on the road to a whole new life!

    With Love,
    Crystal
    Bedford, Texas (USA)

  • Steve says:

    Steve, Naomi, and Sabrina: We watched Marlie’s story last night and we were all touched. God was with you the whole time Marlie. You are very beautiful girl with an awesome family. Stay strong Marlie and keep on dancing. Our prayers are with you.

  • Chrissy says:

    I just wanted to say that I hope GOD blesses everyone that played a role in getting Marlie the treatment that she needed. I was extremely saddened to see this little girl suffering not only physically, but emotionally. I pray that she will live a normal and blessed life and that her parents, family, friends and those who were so mean to her grow in GOD and in spirit.
    Thank you Discovery Health for telling this story!!!

  • Tim says:

    Amanda, Brittany, and Monica: I forwarded your messages to International Kids Fund. They will make sure that Marlie gets your messages.

    Marlie is doing very well and is recovering at Ronald McDonald House.

    Thanks again, best wishes.

    Tim

  • Tim says:

    Amanda,

    I’ll ask IKF if there is a way that you can correspond with Marlie.

  • Tim says:

    Brittany,

    International Kids Fund says, “She has been diagnosed with a facial deformity associated with a disease called Polyostotic Fibrous Dysplasia that has not only deformed her face, but severely affected her respiratory system.”

  • Brittany says:

    I watched Marlie’s story last night I want her to know that GOD is on her side. I will keep her in my prayers and I would love to see pictures. I didn’t catch the beginning of her story what disease does she have exactly?

  • Amanda says:

    My name is Amanda and an 13 years of age and i was watching Marlies surgery on teh discovery channel and was wondering if you could give Marlie a message for me.
    Marlie, you are a beautiful girl
    before and after your surgery. I want
    You to know that I admire your courage
    and strength. If i was there in Haiti
    I would love to talk to you and become
    your friend. I love that you are kind
    and sweet and I admire your family for
    trusting with God because he will follow
    you during everything. Marlie you are my
    Hero! I would love to sit down and have a
    converstation with you but its kinda hard
    since I live in a diffrent country and also
    speak a diffrent language but i wish you
    the best of luck!

    Sincerly, Amanda

  • Tim says:

    Dr. Garzon,

    I wouldn’t know about that. I suggest writing Dr. Gomez again.

    Marlie is doing well and is currently in Haiti recuperating.

    Thanks.

    Tim

  • DR manuel castro Garzon says:

    I wrote Dr. Jesus Gomez on December 13 2005, if that tumour was nor a Burkitts Lymphoma, because it’s a girl from Haiti, the mass shows a thoth inside it, is located on the face, and clinically have all the features of a Burkitt’s Lymphoma, he anwered its a FPQ but i usggested him to take a biopsy of the tumour and analyze it..I have no answer about that investigation..I now the girl was operated again on 26th of January and in 20 march is good..I’d like to know about the Biopsy..Thanks MCG

  • matt says:

    Thank God for anandtech and this site. praise Jesus and thank Him for whatever the outcome.

  • Monica Johnson of brooklyn says:

    I’m just here praying for recovery, and i hope she knows God never gives us more than we can bear. And though it may seem like he’s so far away just know that he;s a prayer away. So keep the faith and one day we’ll be looking at her wedding photo’s. God Bless!

  • Richard J. Johnson says:

    If post operative updates are being released they must be few and far apart. Please let us know how Marlie is progressing.

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