Girl With Half A Face Has Surgery So She Can Smile For First Time

05/02/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

The girl with half a face

The Girl With Half A Face has had a four-hour operation that will allow her to smile for the first time.

Sarah Atwell, 17, from Nova Scotia, Canada, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis at eight months old, a genetic condition that has caused a large tumour to consume the right side of her face.

She has been badly bullied her whole life but rather than give in, she stood up to her tormentors by posting a video to Facebook last year, making it clear she intended to live a happy life no matter what the bullies called her.

In a series of cards held up to the camera, she said: "I have a tumour, that's all. . . I wish people could understand there is nothing wrong with me."

Another read: "I get called names all the time. . . Bitch, slut, fat face, fat, ugly - it hurts."

One of the last cards read: "Maybe one day the bullying will stop, but until then I'm going to be STRONG."

The girl with half a face

The post inspired thousands of well-wishers to get in touch to support her. One of them was a producer from the Discovery Fit & Health channel who contacted to Sarah to say they wanted to document her life.

Viewers of The Girl With Half A Face have been left moved by Sarah's description of her struggles.

The girl with half a face

Talking about the tumour, she said: "It grew with me as I grew. In my right ear, it's kinda hard to hear sometimes, because [the tumor] pulls everything down. And my right eye, it's just blur."

The documentary team also recorded some of the bullying that Sarah experiences at school, such as classmates repeatedly ripping down her class photo and the abusive names she gets called on a daily basis.

She admitted: "Almost every day at school sucks. My class photo keeps going missing. Someone takes it, I don't know why. And it hurts... "There's some kids that will call me names and threaten to kill me.'

But she's determined the bullies won't win.

She said: " If I could stand up to bullying, and if another kid who was bullied sees me and thinks they can talk to someone and think, 'I can stand up for myself', then I have helped."

The latest instalment of the Discovery Fit & Health documentary showed Sarah having a four-hour operation that will change her life.

While the results from the surgery remain to be seen, Sarah has revealed that she is delighted by the results.

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