Christian in ICU a few days after his birth

About Christian

Christian was born in London in 1984 with severe and complex craniofacial anomalies. After several scans his mother had done during her pregnancy, which showed nothing untoward, he was born with craniosynostosis (when the bones of the skull fuse prematurely) a bilateral cleft lip and palate, hypertelorism (when the eyes are abnormally far apart), abnormal kidneys (horseshoe) and hearing loss. His hairline and eyebrows were also set too high.

A series of operations followed a few weeks later to initially close the cleft. A few months later, he developed hydrocephalus (an accumulation of fluid within the brain), which resulted in his first major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Shortly afterwards he developed bacterial meningitis, a life-threatening illness, which he thankfully recovered from.

Christian with his parents and sister in 1992

Over the next few years, he underwent a number of minor operations whilst receiving intense speech therapy. His parents were told that only major reconstructive surgery, which involved huge risks, would correct the anomalies he had been born with.

At the age of 9, Christian underwent his first major reconstructive surgery, which would pave the way for his future operations and his future in general. Thanks to his parents perseverance, he was operated on by Dr. Paul Tessier – the ‘father of craniofacial surgery’ in Paris, which was then followed by another major operation in London (again performed by Dr. Tessier). Dr. Tessier admitted that Christian’s case was such a complex and unusual case and he likened it to ‘navigating in the dark without a compass.

Christian and his wife Stephanie in 2017

A series of smaller operations followed before a break of several years, needed because he had to reach his maximum facial development before the next phase of reconstructive surgeries. At the age of 18, Christian, his parents and sister travelled to Chicago to begin the process of reconstructing his nose, which resulted in some 15 operations with the family travelling back and forth from their home in London.

At 21, he had what would turn out to be his last major operation in Los Angeles to bring down his hairline and eyebrows using tissue expansion.

Christian then studied at Southampton Solent University, UK, where he graduated in 2009 with a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies. In 2013 he moved to Los Angeles for a couple of years to pursue his passion for writing and film. He also studied briefly at the New York and London film academies, gaining certificates in production and screenwriting respectively. Christian and his wife Stephanie are now based in Switzerland.

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