Lit­tle boy who needs surgery be­fore he can smile

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - JANELLE MILES

HE’S the lit­tle boy who can­not smile. Three-year-old Levi Nikolic was born with the rare con­di­tion, Moe­bius syn­drome, caus­ing fa­cial paral­y­sis.

Although he ex­pe­ri­ences emo­tions like most other lit­tle boys his age, he’s un­able to ex­press joy through a smile, dis­ap­point­ment with a frown or sur­prise by rais­ing his eye­brows.

“Levi is of­ten mis­in­ter­preted for be­ing dull, sub­mis­sive or un­friendly be­cause of his fa­cial paral­y­sis and in­abil­ity to smile at oth­ers, or show ex­pres­sions, which greatly af­fect his social in­ter­ac­tions,” his mother Julie Nikolic said.

“We know when he’s happy be­cause he’ll gig­gle. But the hardest thing is see­ing Levi not be­ing able to smile and show his hap­pi­ness to the world. It’s some­thing that peo­ple don’t com­pre­hend. They think ev­ery­one can smile.”

A scan at the Queens­land Children’s Hos­pi­tal when he was about three months old pin­pointed the prob­lem.

The con­di­tion, which has no known cause, has also re­sulted in their mis­chievous lit­tle boy hav­ing ex­ces­sive drool­ing and speech dif­fi­cul­ties.

Mrs Nikolic is con­cerned that with­out “smile surgery”, it will af­fect op­por­tu­ni­ties for em­ploy­ment and re­la­tion­ships.

The Nikolics, from Red­cliffe, north of Bris­bane, wanted to tell their story to raise aware­ness about Moe­bius syn­drome in the hope of cre­at­ing “a more tol­er­ant and ac­cept­ing world”.

They also hope to raise money to take Levi to Cal­i­for­nia for an eight-hour “fa­cial re­an­i­ma­tion” op­er­a­tion. TO DO­NATE TO LEVI’S SURGERY: WWW. GOFUNDME. COM/ F / A- S MILEFOR- LEVI

Levi Nikolic.

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