NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A 12-year-old Huntington Beach boy underwent free plastic surgery on Wednesday to avoid being teased by his classmates.
Kaleb Curtis-Stopnik said he hopes years of taunting and bullying about the size of his ears will finally end.
“At school, kids would call me ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Big Ears’ and ‘Satellite Ears’, just walking down the hall,” he said. “I kinda felt like I was a nobody… the kid who sat in the corner.”
The middle school student, who has been teased since he was 3 years old, made the decision to do something about his ears that “stick out too much” with his mother.
“I have mixed emotions on it. I’m his mom. I think he’s perfect the way he is, but it’s something he’s been asking for, for a couple years,” said Veronica Curtis.
Curtis said she tried to discourage her son from undergoing the procedure by showing him videos of otoplasty.
Dr. Michael Niccole, a Newport Beach plastic surgeon, performed the procedure that pinned Kaleb’s ears back.
Niccole, who has a program called the Magic Mirror Foundation, helps kids and adults around the world for free.
“I’ve been doing humanitarian things in South America and Mexico for the last 25 years. So I know how it feels when the kid becomes recluse and hides or doesn’t want to go to school…or doesn’t even want to play with the other kids,” he said.
Although Kaleb was confident about the surgery, he told the doctor he didn’t want to change the unique shape of his right ear.