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The Globe and Mail

Disfigured Edmonton boy has life-changing surgery

Maddox Flynn, 2, born with cystic hygroma.

HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Facebook

Doctors in New York say they have successfully performed the first of at least two life-changing surgeries on a disfigured Edmonton boy.

Maddox Flynn, 2, was born with cystic hygroma, a rare lymphatic condition that has caused severe swelling on the left side of his face.



All we wanted was for Maddox to have that normal life and now he's got it. Maddox's dad, Mike Flynn


After unsuccessful radiology treatments in Alberta, a surgical team lead by specialist Dr. Milton Waner operated on the boy Friday.

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The team told CTV News it removed a growth from around Maddox's left eye and was able to attach muscles that will ensure his eye functions normally.

Before the operation, Waner said that without the surgery the boy's condition would get worse.

"If left untreated, unfortunately, this mass will get bigger and bigger and bigger," he said. "The degree of disfigurement would actually increase."

Some of the boy's family members, including his father, Mike Flynn, were visibly relieved to see Maddox still under anesthesia in a crib in the recovery room.

"All we wanted was for Maddox to have that normal life and now he's got it," Flynn said.

Warner told CTV that Maddox will be running around Central Park again by Sunday.

The operations are expected to cost a minimum of $100,000 and are being paid for by donations from the public. A second operation on the lower part of Maddox's face is set for September.

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Flynn said the family is overwhelmed by support from the public.

"There is no price tag on the gratitude of people in Edmonton and people across Canada and people across North America," he said before the surgery. "We just found out that people in England are following us."

Maddox's mother, Nicole Champagne, travelled to New York Friday to be with her son.

Supporters were posting messages on the Facebook social networking site.

"Praying for little Maddox and your entire family. We pray for total health and healing for Maddox. May God hold you in the palm of His hand and give you strength," wrote one family.

Stacey Porter Kowalka empathized with the family in her message of encouragement.

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"Our son had something like this and we also flew to NYC for surgery at age 3. We are SO GLAD we did! God be with your precious son! Ours is 16 now and handsome as ever. New York doctors rock!"

As of Friday afternoon, the family had received $214,000 in donations, including $10,000 from Gilbert Brule, a hockey player with the NHL Edmonton Oilers.

"Our whole team is rooting for Maddox and his family as they show courage during this challenging time," Brule said in a news release.

The condition Maddox was born with is a form of birthmark that affects his lymph system and causes fluid to back up. Doctors say the fluid then swells the tissue, which causes scarring that turns into a hard mass.

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