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Webb City Girl Diagnosed With Rare Birth Defect - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Webb City Girl Diagnosed With Rare Birth Defect

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WEBB CITY, MISSOURI -

    Imagine a normal nine month pregnancy and then at the end, your baby is born with a rare, potentially life-threatening birth defect.  That's what happened to one Webb City mother.
  Shelby Williams was like any expectant mother, excited to meet her baby girl, but when that day came, something, wasn't right.
Shelby Williams, Harper's Mom: "The day that she was born, she came out and it just looked like a big head of hair, but then when they turned her over, we noticed it was only on one side of her head."
The condition wasn't detectable on an ultrasound.  Williams tells us one doctor thought it was like a birth mark, and would go away on it's own.
Williams: "He'd never seen anything like it."
But it wasn't a birth mark, and it wasn't going to go away.  The rare condition, is called "Congenital Melanocytic Nevus."
Dr. Bruce Bauer, Pediatric Plastic Surgery Director, NorthShore University Health System, Chicago: "It's an abnormal collection of cells similar to the pigment cells in the body."
It's also known as "CMN" and it only happens in about one of every 20,000 people.  However, the growths Harper has, are even more rare.
Dr. Bauer: "Those that are really large and or giant, the numbers vary, probably maybe as rare as one in a hundred thousand to one in a half million."
The larger bumps on Harper are there intentionally.
Williams: "They cut back here and up here, and then they put a tissue expander inside, and what it is, a tissue expander is, it's like a balloon, and you fill it with saline, and what it does is it stretches the skin."
The extra skin is then used to replace the damaged skin on Harper's scalp.  Harper will require four surgeries, starting in December, to begin the process of removing the damaged skin and replacing it.
Dr. Bauer: "You can't do surgery without scars, so the key is to place the scars in areas where they're least visible."
But scars are the least of their worries.  Williams says, right now, her insurance isn't covering the procedures, because Dr. Bauer is a plastic surgeon, and since Harper's condition isn't life threatening, the surgery is considered cosmetic.  So, one of her friends setup a go fund me page to help raise money to pay for the four surgeries and trips to Chicago.
If you'd like to donate or help out, click here or on the "Associated Links" under baby Harper's picture.
    Baby Harper's second surgery is scheduled for December 14th.

Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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Contact Chris:
417.624.0233 or 620.231.0400
cwarner@koamtv.com

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