As a fetus, Ollie Trezise’s brain grew inside his nose and he has been described as the ‘real-life Pinocchio’ by his proud mother.
Ollie was born with a rare condition which caused his brain to grow through a crack in his skull into his nose. The 21-month-old has already undergone several painful operations to help him to breathe and to close the gap in his skull.
While 20 weeks pregnant, a scan showed Ollie’s mother, Amy Poole, 22, that her son was growing unusual amounts of soft tissue on his face, but she was still shocked after she gave birth. She described his nose as being like a golf ball on a tiny face and body. At first, she wasn’t sure how she’d cope but was always certain she’d love him no matter what his nose looked like.
An MRI finally confirmed that the lump was an encephalocele – a defect that causes the brain to grow through a hole in the skull, creating a protruding sac.
When doctors told Poole they’d need to operate on Ollie’s nose, she was hesitant at first, but agreed after hearing that he might otherwise contract meningitis or another serious infection.
The surgery involved cutting open his skull to remove the excess sac of brain fluid and rebuild his nose.
After recovering from the surgery, Ollie has been laughing and playing with his 4-year-old sister, who is sometimes so jealous of her little brother’s nose that she grabs it, according to Poole.
Unfortunately, Ollie’s not done with the surgeries. He will need further operations in the future but doctors are waiting to see how his skull develops first.
It’s unlikely that Ollie’s nose will ever look 100% normal, but the only that upsets his mother is the fear of him being bullied by other children for the way he looks.
Ollie’s mother says her son is always bombarded with cruel comments from strangers. One person said her son should’ve never been born, others call him ugly.
“To me, Ollie is perfect,” she says. “He is my little real-life Pinocchio and I couldn’t be prouder of him. Ollie will probably never look like all the other children and I’m terrified that he will be bullied at school. But he is such a lovely boy that it’s impossible not to adore him.”