Bethan H’s Story


Bethan Harvey, RMA

Bethan Harvey, RMA

Heyya I’m Bethan and I’m 17 from the UK I just thought I would share my story with you all to give you a little insight into my life and who I am as a person , I was born in 1995 with a medical condition known as Microtia which literally means small ear and here in the UK it can affect around 7,000 people .I was born with grade 3 to my right ear meaning that I was born with a peanut of tissue instead of an ear , This never bothered me and I always loved my little ear.

That was until I went to junior school and found that a lot of children even ones I didn’t know and still don’t knew my name and knew about my ear, Being so young I didn’t really know anything was different about me or about my ear and I faced a lot of questions and nasty comments about my ear which I never knew how to answer or how to deal with because I didn’t fully understand myself so how could I then know what to say? so I often just said it’s my little ear I was born like it but this was pretty much all I was aware of , the comments turned nasty as the kids viewed me to be a weak and easy target because of my little ear , every day the bullies would be waiting for me and every day the comments and bullying got worse,

Bethan Harvey helping promote awareness about Microtia and Atresia and discouraging bullying

Bethan Harvey helping promote awareness about Microtia and Atresia and discouraging bullying

I would come home crying from school about everything that had happened and tell my parents about it ,.Obviously my parents then got in touch with the school who then denied the fact I was being bullied and said they had no bullying in their school , even though they had witnessed it on the playground and in the classroom .I then decided that because it was all getting too much that I would have to start faking to be ill so that the school would have to send me home .After two years of being bullied at this school I moved to another junior school where at first things were great until I was no longer the new girl and I got bullied by one of my supposed friends who turned my whole class and year group against me and then decided that even though I had no confidence, no self-esteem ,no self-belief or friends that still wasn’t enough and stole my PE kit and put it down the toilet before weeing on it and it was handed back to me by the school soaking wet in a carrier bag, all because I was born different and had a different ear to everyone else.When I next had an appointment at Great Ormond Street Hospital I was given the options for what could be done about my little ear which were do nothing , which wasn’t an option for me as I knew the bullying would carry on , a prosthetic ear which I didn’t like the idea of having an ear I could take on an off or to have 2 stage operation of rib graft reconstruction which is what I opted for an no one could talk me out of as I knew this was the only option I had and what I wanted.

 I had my first stage of rib graft in the summer of 2006 aged 10 and I could only see the positives I wasn’t nervous at all I just wanted to get my new ear and for the bullying to go away ,I was in great Ormond street hospital for a week recovering from the operation and although my head was really hot due to it being in the summer and having a thick bandage round my head, being in pain with my ribs I was so happy I’d done this and I knew this only part of the journey to come .I had the second stage of rib graft in February 2007 this time I was only kept in overnight and a few weeks later my bandage was removed revealing my new ear which had beat my expectations it was amazing I loved it and spent the next few months keep looking at it in the mirror I couldn’t have been any happier with my new ear that Neil Bulstrode had created for me and he was a complete hero ,a miracle worker in my eyes and still is and always will be .Sadly that is not the end of my bullying story though as I was still bullied after both stages of rib graft which did at one point push me over the edge to trying to end my own life. However ear wise I couldn’t have been happier and it was one of the best things I’d ever chosen to do and I was glad my parents left it for me to decide.

Bethan and her surgeon, Dr. Neil Bulstrode when having Rib Graft ear reconstructive surgery

Bethan and her surgeon, Dr. Neil Bulstrode, when having Rib Graft ear reconstructive surgery

I’m now bully free and last year graduated from my level 2 diploma in animal care and I’m now studying for a level 3 diploma in animal management at college loving it, I now have amazing friends who are so supportive and understand and accepting of me and my ear. Some people say school years are your best years I totally disagree I’ve never once looked back since leaving school .Lately I’ve had to have a CROS aid fitted as due to never knowing that anything could be done to help my hearing for my Microtia ear (right ear) my left ear as a result has taken on the additional pressure to work for both ears and due to being under too much pressure I’ve recently been diagnosed with a moderate sensorial hearing loss so had to get a CROS aid fitted although I don’t have the processor microphone for the right ear as it wouldn’t fit on .However I’m now waiting to be assessed for the BAHA .This is only part of my story please feel free to read my blog that I write about my life including all of my medical stuff and hospital appointments : also now am dedicated to helping other people with Microtia and similar conditions as I don’t want them to feel alone like I did, I’m also doing all I can to raise awareness of Microtia

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