ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) - All around Charlotte Ponce’s hospital room at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak are signs of love and well wishes for the young girl who has conquered so much.
12-year-old Charlotte ponce was mauled by a pet raccoon when she was just three months old. The incident caused her parents to lose custody of her.
Charlotte has undergone numerous surgeries since she was a toddler. In 2012, Charlotte came to Beaumont to get her upper lip repaired, her nose rebuilt and, just last month, Charlotte got a new right ear. It was literally crafted from her rib cartilage and grown under the skin of her forearm.
Now, Charlotte is celebrating the end of that two-year journey. Last week, she underwent a skin graft surgery on her arm where her ear was harvested.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate said proudly Monday, “I kept my word. I told her we’d give her nose back, lip back and ear back, and so we did.”
Charlotte’s adoptive mother, Sharon Ponce, said the family is very pleased with the outcome. “He’s a perfectionist,” she said of Dr. Chaiyasate. “He wasn’t going to do [the surgery] unless he knew he was going to do it well,” she said.
One of the things Charlotte has most looked forward to is being able to wear earrings on her new ear. During last week’s procedure, Dr. Chaiyasate surprised Charlotte – he pierced her new ear and fashioned a makeshift earring from IV tubing.
“I can finally wear earrings,” Charlotte said.
It’s the little things Charlotte said she wants to do. The self-proclaimed tomboy said she can’t wait to get back to playing soccer, swimming and doing gymnastics. The ambition makes her dad a little wary.
“Dad’s afraid I’m gonna break my neck one of these days while doing gymnastics.”
But mom assures, “She’s just one tough little kid.”
Charlotte has some of her own words for other tough kids going through similar struggles.
“Just stay strong, and you can do it,” Charlotte said.
Dr. Chaiyasate said Charlotte will need a few more follow-up operations in the future to give her ear more definition.
For now, Charlotte said she can’t wait to go home to her pet guinea pigs and cat.