By Rebecca Drew
THIS TEENAGER who was born with a cleft palate and targeted by bullies that said she should kill herself has regained her confidence after countless surgeries to transform her face – now she says having a birth defect was the best thing to happen to her.
Content creator, Bobby-Ella Futter (19) from Telford, UK, was born with a cleft lip and palate but despite being proud of her scars, she was teased by both adults and children growing up. One teacher even put her on the ‘special table’ at school for children with severe learning difficulties when she was seven, despite having the same abilities as other kids.
Just two years ago sick bullies shockingly graffitied a scene of a girl hanging telling Bobby to kill herself close to her house, which her then nine-year-old brother saw on his way to school. Bobby’s mum, Alison, arranged for some local builders to scrape the disgusting message off and told her daughter about the incident two weeks later.
Over the years, Bobby has had more surgeries than she can remember with her first being to close the hole in her lip after she was born, a bone graft when she was 11 and most recently a rhinoplasty last year, which Bobby says has made her more confident than ever.
“I was teased by children, adults, you name it. I have two really bad incidents that really shaped me as a person. The first one was when I was very young in primary school,” said Bobby.
“I was put on the ‘special table’ which consisted of people with severe learning difficulties. I couldn’t understand why the teacher had put me on the table as I was as capable and intelligent as everyone else in my class. It was only a scar on my face.
“The second incident that has stayed with me was around two-years-ago. My little brother was walking to school and he walked through an underpass by my house which was covered in graffiti about me.
“It said my name which was embarrassing, and they’d written: ‘You are so ugly, kill yourself’ with a drawing of a girl hanging. It was massive. My little brother ran home in tears and it took my mum about two weeks to tell me. She walked down there on the same day and found some builders to scrape my name off.
“It wasn’t until I got into the last year of primary school that me and the other children started to notice I was a little bit different. I used to cry to my mum every night telling her I thought I was ugly and I wish I’d just been born normal.
“I’ve never known a person give more fulfilling advice, she really is great. She’s helped me grow and be the person I am and I’m so thankful to have had her backing all the way.
A cleft is a gap or spilt in the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth which is present from birth. It is the most common facial birth defect in the UK and affects one in every 700 babies born.
Cleft lips and palates can sometimes cause a number of issues before surgery is carried out which include; difficulty feeding, hearing problems and ear infections, dental problems and sometimes speech problems, which often improve after treatment.
Bobby went into detail about how her surgeries have boosted her confidence and changed her life.
“My first surgery wasn’t long after I was born, and it was to close my lip up. The following ones were right up until I was 18,” she explained.
“My last one was a rhinoplasty, which also included shaping and creating me a new nose with a kind of plastic substance they use to make debit cards.
“I’ve had a bone graft when I was about 11 – they took cartilage out of my hip and put it in my jaw. I’ve had so many I can’t even estimate.
“The biggest surgery I had was my rhinoplasty last year. It was mad, like they completely gave me a new nose, and it’s hard now, it’s so funny. I really don’t know how the surgeons have got me from where I was to where I am now.
“It really takes some mad intelligence and proper science because I was literally born with a hole in my face. I will forever be grateful to the NHS and all my surgeons, doctors, nurses, everyone really.
“After my nose job, it completely changed my confidence and I’ve been amazingly confident ever since.”
Now, Bobby views growing up with her lip as the best thing that could have ever happened to her and says she’s encouraged those around her to be less judgemental based on someone’s appearance.
“Growing up with my lip has been the best thing that could have ever happened. I sometimes feel as if I was put on the Earth for a reason. I have changed lots of people’s opinions of judging a book by its cover,” she said.
“I feel as though it is better to be striking than to blend in. I’ve made my siblings and my parents, friends and relatives more accepting of other people with scars etc as they have watched me grow up into the person I am today.
“I am a normal person, there is nothing different about me apart from the way I look.
“The media and people such as Kylie Jenner have started to really normalise ‘perfect’ lips, but that kind of thing just doesn’t exist.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/bobby.ella/