Smile of the Cumbernauld schoolboy that means so much

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When he flashes his adorably cheeky smile, Charlie Duncan looks like any other local schoolboy.

Yet the 10-year-old St Andrew’s Primary pupil has spent the last four years undergoing complex and invasive surgery to stem life-threatening bleeding from his mouth.

This took a potentially deadly hold after a tangle of blood vessels grew through his jawbone, supplied directly from an artery.

The Cawder Road resident has in fact undergone 20 operations to try and stem the flow of blood so that the rare condition of Mandibular Arteriovenous Malformation can be beaten for once and for all.

When the condition spread to his face, a new approach was needed in a move that prompted his surgeons to look abroad for help.

The upshot was that Charlie spent his 10th birthday on an operating table at the Southern General Hospital for a gruelling 17 hour procedure

This saw prominent surgeon Colin MacIver rebuild the lower half of Charlie’s face with bone and tissue from his leg.

His grandmother Jan McCartney from Carrickstone explained: “Doctors had to remove a third of his bottom lip and a large portion of his right lower leg was used to help rebuild the inside of his mouth.

“They also replaced skin on his chin with skin from the leg. He continues to have dressings to his leg as this has taken many months to heal”.

However, the treatment extended beyond the skin graft itself as Charlie’s condition was too serious to be fully addressed by this one procedure

Charlie also had to have a tracheostomy which sees a breathing tube installed in the throat.

Speaking or eating was out for several months and walking would prove difficult too.

However, in a mark of sheer determination and true grit, young Charlie had other ideas.

And to prove it he, ran the Cumbernauld 10K’s IK race to raise cash for the hospital’s Maxillofacial Unit on Sunday!

To date, he’s raised £1559 on a Just Giving Page.

Jan said: “The doctors have been astounded by his recovery and spirit and attitude throughout his ordeal. We are so proud of him!”

If you would like to donate to Charlie’s fund contact: www.justgiving.com/charles-duncan1.