By Rebecca Chitolie


THIS BRAVE girl born with one eye has endured bullying and threats of violence by her peers but England’s lionesses including her hero Jill Scott have inspired her to tackle her condition by raising money for an advanced bionic eye from America not available on the NHS.

Myah Hauxwell (9) from Mansfield, Nottingham was born with severe microphthalmia, which meant she only had one eye at birth. She has had 24 surgeries and procedures since birth and now her family is now appealing to raise £15K for a bionic eye from the US that will help her confidence.

Microphthalmia, also known as small eye syndrome, is a condition that causes the eye to not develop during pregnancy. This condition is rare, with approximately 30 babies being born with this condition in the UK every year.

This condition means that Myah is blind in one eye, has multiple scars on her stomach from skin grafts and due to some unsuccessful operations she has had to wear a clear conformer, which has caused her to be bullied in school. This has severely impacted Myah’s mental health, so much so that she doesn’t like to leave the house for fear of people seeing her.

Her mother Lauren (36) an aesthetician, is now speaking out to raise awareness of the effect that bullying has on children with visible differences.

Myah has recently experienced aggressive bullying that has gotten worse in the last year and a half at her school.

“She receives daily comments about her eye,” said Lauren.

“Walking into a supermarket, people break their necks to look at Myah, and kids say ‘oh look she’s only got one eye’.”

“She hasn’t currently got a temporary eye in, so it looks like she doesn’t have an eye there.

“One child said ‘I’m gonna kick you in your face and break your glasses’.

“People have just said to her, ‘You’re ugly’.

“As the kids are getting older, Myah realises what they’re actually saying to her, before she didn’t know what they meant but now she knows.”

Her mum is currently running a fundraiser to help raise £15,000 for Myah to receive a state of the art bionic prosthetic eye in America, since her confidence has been affected after being bullied for how she looks. Myah has been offered prosthetic eyes on the NHS but they are basic and are only a temporary solution for Myah.

“The NHS provides eyes but they’re not bionic, and are very basic”

“The person we are seeing in America is the only one who does the bionic eye, it’s unique because it has a chip in it which reacts to sunlight, so the pupil moves and dilates.

“Given everything that Myah has gone through I want the best for her.”

Her surgeries have ranged from, expanders to expand the eye socket, the microphthalmic eye fully removed, skin grafts, fat grafts, granulomas removed, and debulking of her eye socket.

“Every time she has a surgery she either has a black eye or stitches in her face”, said Lauren.

“When she has a fat graft or skin graft her eye goes shocking white, because the blood has to attach to the new skin, so she looks very different and kids at school have bullied her for that.”

Myah is learning to ignore the bullying now, but she struggled a lot when it started.

“She would hit herself out of frustration because people were so mean to her”, said her mother.

“She would say to me that nobody liked her and she wanted to be ‘normal’.

“She didn’t want to leave the house at one point because people would look at her on the street.”

Lauren has had numerous meetings with the school to put procedures in place to support Myah.

“As many times a day as I try to tell her she’s beautiful and perfect, it’s not enough”, said Lauren.

Myah as a baby and mother Lauren with eye prosthetic.

“She needs other people to be kind to her.

Myah now has better ways to cope with the bullying, through support from her mother and counselling from a local charity, The Lashes Foundation, she does drawing tasks which helps get her anger out on paper.

“We do some arts and crafts together or go on a bike ride which helps her talk about what is bothering her.

“She also loves dancing and singing which is how she expresses herself.

“She’s also joined the theatre which has boosted her confidence.”

Lauren mentioned that representation was important for Myah to gain confidence, and football has been another outlet to build Myah’s confidence.

“She’s recently got into football now after watching the women’s football, and I got her the goalie kit of Mary Earps, which she absolutely loves”, said Lauren.

“Jill Scott is one of her favourite players, she absolutely loves her.

“Football helps her confidence because it’s a contact sport, so she’s getting confidence to be braver, to go in with tackles.

Myah as a baby in shopping cart with hat.

“She just loves being active, running about and enjoying being a kid.

Myah plays football at her school football team, her mother Lauren described the benefits of football on Myah.

“She’s seeing that women can do all the things that men do too”, said Lauren.

“The magic moment for Myah, is when she is actually proud when she has her kit on and she comes off of the pitch and is red faced, and she’s done it.

“She forgets what she’s stressed about, what she’s upset about.

Myah eye check-up.

“Her just coming off of the pitch and seeing that smile is all I ask for.”

Lauren gives advice to children with visible differences who are being bullied.

“The most important thing is to talk about your feelings, if someone has upset you”, said Lauren.

“It was only when we both talked about what was going on that things started getting better.”

Lauren says the biggest benefit is communicating, as Myah started feeling better when she talked about what was happening.

“Get them to talk, sit down one-on-one and talk about what is happening”, said Lauren.

“She has a counsellor to support her, and a community of support through her fundraiser. But mostly it’s just me and her and my close friends.

Her mother, Lauren, said more needs to be done to change the way people treat people with visible differences.

“Education is needed about disabilities, people need to be encouraged to support people with disabilities because life is so hard, especially for a nine-year old with 24 surgeries, she deserves a break and yet she’s still getting abuse from people around her in school and in the street”, said Lauren.

Myah dancing.

“Children don’t know right from wrong but their parents are the ones who should be educating their kids.

“Adaptations need to be made because the world is not as straightforward as it used to be, and people who are already having a tough time shouldn’t have to accept this.”

Lauren says that Myah has struggled with confidence in expressing herself but now is teaching her to become more independent.

“I have had to explain to her to accept that people are going to be mean to her, which is the hardest thing I’ve had to do as a parent”, said Lauren.

“I shouldn’t have to explain that to a child.

“Just be kind because you don’t know what someone is going through.

“If there’s anything you can do today, just make somebody smile because you never know how the rest of their day is going.”