COARSEGOLD, Calif. --Hannah Lockwood suffers from a rare illness that leaves her face partially paralyzed, and friends started a fund-raising campaign so the 6-year-old girl could undergo surgery.
Lockwood just wants to smile like everyone else, but she is unable to because she was born with Moebius Syndrome. But on Monday in Beverly Hills, she will undergo surgery to put a smile on her face. And that's reason for everyone to smile.
"It's a relatively simple procedure as they work to stretch the temporalis muscles down," dad Kevin Lockwood said. "They connect them to the corners of the mouth."
The sweet girl has no problem interrupting summer playtime with her four siblings to visit another doctor, and she says she is looking forward to the surgery.
She will need a few months to heal after the procedure.
"I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous," mom Sarah Lockwood said. "I can't imagine her face looking any different because we see the smile. We see her perfect little face."
The Lockwood family is overwhelmed by the love and support shown by Coarsegold residents. A three-month drive to raise $36,000 for the operation exceeded the goal by $10,000. Kids sold buttons, and families held rummage sales.
"This community has blown us away," Sarah Lockwood said. "We have family that we didn't know we had."
"I think people connected with her plight," Kevin Lockwood said. "To not be able to smile, I think it hits in the heart for everyone."
People have also been sending Hannah gifts to play with during her recovery period, and she has been busy writing thank you notes. The toys and games came from the Joni and Friends Camp for kids with disabilities.
The extra money raised will go for the family's hotel costs in Southern California and future medical bills.