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Charity helps boy have face rebuilt by UK surgeons

Ten-year-old Joel Waiswa was shunned by his community in Uganda and local doctors dare not attempt an operation to remove a huge tumour pushing his left eye out of his head over the last three years.

But surgeons with the UK charity Facing the World, co-founded by the late surgeon Martin Kelly who was married to the actress Natascha McElhone, operated last month to give him a new face.

One single procedure has been so successful that most people do not even realise Joel ever had surgery or such a massive tumour.

Joel has now resolved to become a doctor so he can help others.

He was spotted by film producer Lisa Bryer while filming a hospital scene for The Last King of Scotland, starring Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy, in Uganda.

He desperately wanted to be in the film despite his horrific deformity, and Lisa arranged for him to feature in the film but she also wanted to help his medical condition. The tumour, called an ossifying fibroma, is a non-cancerous lump that was growing from the side of his face, pushing his nose out of shape and forcing his left eye out of its socket threatening to destroy his vision.

However, with the lack of facilities and specialist skills, the local surgeons were reluctant to tackle Joel's condition, so Lisa, sought the help of plastic surgeons in the UK who directed her to the children's charity Facing The World.

The charity has helped dozens of children whose facial deformities mean they are shunned by their communities and often cannot work or marry and cannot get the sophisticated surgery they need in their own countries.


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