Not everyone has an earring like Charlotte Ponce – but, of course, hardly anyone in the world has an ear like she does. She’s pictured here with the surgeon who gave her a new ear, Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate at Beaumont Health System’s Royal Oak hospital. (Screenshot: WXYZ, Channel 7,video)
Charlotte Ponce, the 12-year-old who captured Michigan’s and America’s hearts for resilience through a litany of surgeries to repair facial disfigurement caused by an attack by a pet raccoon when she was 3, got another surprise from her doctors last week.
They pierced her brand new ear, the one Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate at Beaumont Health System’s Royal Oak hospital carved from the cartilage of the Spring Hill, MI, girl’s rib last April, WXYZ, Channel 7, reports.
The surprise piercing took place while Charlotte was under anesthesia during a skin graft on her forearm, where the ear grew for several months before it was attached to the side of her face last month.
“I can finally wear earrings,” Charlotte told the TV station.
“You don’t have to be perfect. Just rock what you got.” – Charlotte Ponce
“I kept my word,” said her surgeon, who performed a similar procedure in Honduras to restore a boy’s nose. “I told her we’d give her nose back, lip back and ear back, and so we did.”
Some minor procedures will take place as Charlotte matures, but the two-year journey is over for now. People who have been close to the girl describe her as “a tough little kid,” “awesome” and a “hero.”
Charlotte says her experience proves the power of determination.
“Just stay strong, and you can do it,” Charlotte said.
In other words – if she can take it, so can you. In still other words – Charlotte’s, to WDIV, Channel 4 – “You don’t have to be perfect. Just rock what you got.”
It’s that plucky attitude that has won hearts around the world. Earrings have been coming in from some unexpected places, from hometown businesses like Royal Oak’s Miner’s Den Jeweler, which custom designed a pair just for Charlotte, to big-time journalists, like ‘Today’ show correspondent Andrea Canning, who presented a pair to Charlotte during an interview last month.
The first pair are as unique as Charlotte’s ear. Chaiyasate and his team fashioned them from IV tubing. And a likely favorite pair – a set of miniature roses, like her middle name – was given to her by her surgeon.
Charlotte will be featured on the show again this weekend,according to the Friends of Charlotte Rose Facebook page. More details will be shared there as they are known.