SALT LAKE CITY — Kam Gill is only 5 years old, but already he knows that people can be cruel.
The little boy with the cute personality keeps being teased because of his ears.
He didn’t tell his parents that kids in his kindergarten class were making fun of him.
“He was actually talking to one of my friends and they were looking in the mirror together. That’s when he said, ‘I have elf ears,’” recalled his mother, Taisian Beckstead. She was surprised by what she had heard and immediately told him she loved him just the way he was, but he was a little self-conscious about his ears.
She recently heard about the Mobley Foundation and how it could correct his ears at no cost to the family. She contacted the foundation and after hearing Kam’s story, doctors agreed to the otoplasty, or ear-pinning surgery.
“It’s just amazing,” she said. “We are so blessed, so blessed.”
His mother knows that if nothing had been done about his protruding ears, the teasing would probably have gotten worse.
Dr. Steven Mobley with the Mobley Foundation knows exactly what Kam is going through.
“I myself dealt with some bullying and teasing when I was younger because I, too, had some large, protruding ears,” Mobley said. “I eventually had them pinned back and it was a nice, life-changing event.”
He gathered some community support and started a foundation to help kids who otherwise couldn’t afford ear-pinning.
“The reason we do this on little kids before they hit first grade is to prevent the stigma that’s associated with some of these kids that get cruel names,” Mobley said.
The standard age of patients who receive the procedure is 5 to 6 years old.
When asked what the doctor was going to do for him, Kam replied, “He’s going to tuck my ears back to stay like that forever.” The little boy said the procedure would make him feel better because people will stop teasing him.
Kam had the surgery last week. It took about an hour for each ear.
“The ears can be nicely folded back toward the scalp and skull area just with some permanent stitches that are placed in the cartilage of the ear beneath the skin, so the only scars are hidden well behind the ear,” Mobley explained.
For children, he said, the procedure is a real-life changer that helps a physical trait they can’t control, he said.
The bandages came off a couple of days later, and Kam couldn’t be happier.