ICSF Takes on Rare Case in Philippines

Congenital Amniotic Band Syndrome of the face is a very rare condition, occurring in less than one out of 500,000 live births. But figures didn’t mean anything to Shelon’s mother and father. Their son was born with a horrible deformity, and they were devastated. To make matters worse, every medical team that came to their region said they could not do complicated cases such as his on their routine cleft palate missions. It seemed as though these organizations just didn’t want to make the effort to help.

Shelon before

Shelon before surgery for Congenital Amniotic Band Syndrome of the face.


Shelon after

Shelon after surgery. The left side of his face and mouth will be corrected in ICSF’s 2015 Cadiz mission. ICSF alreayd has initiated contact to secure a prosthetic eye.

Fortunately, Shelon’s family met a local doctor who knew about ICSF and its willingness to take on complicated patients. The referral was made. ICSF subsequently made all the special preparations needed, including a computerized scan of the face and head, available only in the larger cities. After a year of preparation, Shelon’s time came during ICSF’s August mission to Cadiz, Philippines. The operation took six hours and proceeded without a hitch. Postoperatively, Shelon did well with only a very slight healing problem—which was taken care of by ICSF.

Shelon’s parents were glad ICSF cared enough to be there for him for his recovery phase. The other groups that came would not have been available for postoperative care due to their quick-in, quick-out styles of working. Shelon has recovered now but still needs further surgery. Dr. Williams adds, “Shelon will also need a prosthetic eye, which is a formidable task in a Third World setting. ICSF is up to the challenge, though. We like helping kids like Shelon, who have not been able to find help from other mission organizations. It’s gratifying to help them to the greatest extent possible, even though they are poor.”

Design by Melissa Ventura, Development by Drew Bertola and Walter Martin.