A Virginia girl underwent pediatric cosmetic surgery after being relentlessly tormented by bullies.
Classmates would tease Bella Harrington, 11, for her protruding ears, which significantly hindered her feelings of self-worth.
“They would always point it out, but then the more people pointed it out is when I wanted to change it,” Harrington told ABC local affiliate WRIC. “I thought that they stuck out way too much.”
Her mother said her daughter's peers were ruthless in their taunts, which impacted the young girl's self-esteem.
“When people would ask if I would like to go swimming in the summer I’d be scared they’d show,” Harrington recalled.
“They were being mean, saying different things,” Harrington's mother Sabrina added. “One thing they said, she had elf ears.”
Finally, after years of contemplation, she decided to have an otoplasty, a procedure that pins back the ears.
Harrington and her mother selected Dr. Joe Niamtu to perform the surgery, who said helping children like Harrington is his “biggest reward.”
“It was my honor to help this beautiful young lady to escape the effect of peer bullying from her protruding,” Niamtu wrote on Facebook. “Even small facial deformities can produce very negative psychological consequences in childhood that can lead to a lifetime of low self-esteem and negative body image. My biggest reward.”
He also told the news network WRIC that it isn't uncommon for children as young as four years old to have a procedure done.