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Inspiring boy whose rare condition meant he was born with ‘NO EYES’

This inspiring six-year-old boy who was born ‘without eyes’ and unable to eat is hoping to improve attitudes towards those with severe facial disfigurements.

Christian Buchanan was diagnosed with Tessier cleft lip and palate – an ultra-rare condition as a result of facial tissues not joining properly during development.

It means Christian, from Woodbury, Tennessee, US, was born completely blind with large gaps in his face, as well as the inability to eat and speak.

His condition is so unheard of that is has only been documented 60 times in medical history.

Yet it hasn’t stopped Christian from living a full life whether its wrestling with his younger brother, playing with Lego or learning karate.

Lacey Buchanan holding Christian as a newborn
(Barcroft Media)

Dad Chris Buchanan peering over his son Christian’s crib in hospital
(Barcroft Media)

Christian’s mum, Lacey, told Barcroft TV: “Christian’s condition is called Tessier Cleft Lip and Palate, he has classifications three, four and five which include microphthalmia.

“His condition was caused by amniotic banding syndrome. Fibrous bands can form in the womb and if they attach to the baby they cut off blood flow, so Christian’s banding happened to attach to his face.”

When Christian was born, he was unable to eat due to the gaps on his face where the cleft was and has used a feeding tube since he was four days old.

For Christian, this condition has meant he has never been able to see and it has also affected his learning and speech development. However, these difficulties haven’t stopped him from living a full life.

Lacey and Christian are campaigning to raise awareness of those with facial disabilities
(Barcroft Media)

Christian Buchanan in a graduation gown and his mum Lacey
(Barcroft Media)

Lacey explained: “Christian is a very typical six-year-old little boy. He likes to wrestle with his little brother – all the things that any six-year-old would enjoy.

“The biggest way Christian’s condition affects his daily life is his vision impairment.

“Because he is completely blind, he has to learn to navigate the world in the dark.

“Our world is made for sighted people and he has to learn to live in it without the benefit of sight and so it takes some finagling and we have to do things a little differently sometimes but its totally doable and he is doing it.”

Dad Chris Buchanan, Chandler, Lacey and Christian.
(Barcroft Media)

Christian was born with large gaps in his in face
(Barcroft Media)

Christian is home-schooled and attends Special Kids Therapy & Nursing Centre, in Murfreesboro, once a week he is able to learn a variety of skills from learning how to dress himself to his speech.

Lacey said: “Right now Christian is doing a Lego class and US geography class and creative writing.

And he is with peers his age and they are all good friends and it has really boosted him socially to help him interact with his peers a lot better.

“In occupational therapy right now he is dressing himself. He just mastered taking shoes off and on.”

To date, Christian has undergone seven operations, three of those to reconstruct his face and close the gaps that the cleft created, enabling him to eventually speak and eat properly.

Lacey and Christian
(Barcroft Media)

Lacey Buchanan cuddling her six-year-old son Christian at their home in Woodbury, Tennessee
(Barcroft Media)

Lacey explained: “Christian will have more surgeries in the future, that’s just the nature of this beast.”

Whilst Lacey hoped she’d be bringing Christian up in a world that understood his condition, she was shocked at some people’s reactions to Christian.

Lacey said: “I was unaware before Christian was born that there is this huge social stigma about being different, looking different, and most people didn’t know how to handle somebody with that type of difference.

“Just recently we had an issue, we were in a store and Christian was playing with a little toy in the shelf and a lady walked by and said, ‘eww.’

“He has heard people making certain comments. He hears kids say things like ‘Why does he look like that? What’s wrong with his eyes?’

“I have always answered children in a very, positive, upbeat tone and I will say things like, ‘Oh, that’s just how Christian was born.’

Christian Buchanan practicing karate with his teacher
(Barcroft Media)

And they will say, ‘Why does he have red eyes?’ I will say, ‘That’s just how he was made. Yeah, he has got red eyes, you know, it’s cool.’

“He’s learnt over the course of a couple of weeks to say, ‘Oh, that’s just how god made me.’

He would say, ‘That’s how I was born and I was born awesome.’ I give him some scripts to say.”

As well as being a keen violinist, Christian is currently working towards an orange belt in karate and Lacey has seen her son’s confidence grow.

Lacey said: “I would definitely describe Christian as independent. I remember a few years ago he started saying, ‘I want to do it all by myself mummy.’

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