Christmas miracle: Boy with missing ear to have life-changing surgery

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A life-changing surgery will give a young boy with a rare ear condition the gift of hearing just in time for the holidays.

He may be only 9 years old, but Masyn Ortiz is braver and stronger than most grown men.

He also happens to be born with a rare condition.

He's missing an outer ear as well as an ear canal, making him deaf on one side as a result.

The little guy from Jackson, New Jersey is hip. He likes music.

Lucky for him, he's about to get his hearing fixed.

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He's also about to get a new ear, which means he also can't wait to cut his hair short. Perfect for the summer.

"Um, very distracting when it's hot," Ortiz said.

"It's an unusual procedure and it's unusual to have the experience to do this," doctor Thomas Romo said.

Romo is the Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital.

We might as well call him Saint Nick.

"Will it have a profound effect on this kid? Yeah sure," Romo said.

Dr. Romo is performing this surgery at no cost to the family.

The surgery is pricey and not covered by insurance.

So Romo's organization, the Little Baby Face Foundation, provides free surgeries for kids whose families can't afford them.

It's actually three surgeries in all because Dr. Romo first has to harvest cartilage from Ortiz's rib cage, then he has to carve a new ear from it.

It's made from Ortiz's own tissue so that if it's ever injured it will heal and it'll last until he's about 90 years old.

"Kinda tough to wear a mask without no ear," Romo said. "Everybody else got their masks being pulled down by their masks so, if you don't have an ear it's gonna be tough to wear a mask."

The successful surgery happened last Friday. Ortiz's mom says waiting through the procedure was the hardest thing she's ever had to endure.

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On Thursday night, the Ortiz family is home together. Filled with gratitude.

"I just hope that he'll be able to do you know anything that he wants to do, and whatever he wants and not have to worry about people seeing it or teasing him and you know will be able to hear better," Nicole Ortiz said.

Masyn Ortiz says there isn't a Christmas present that will ever top this one.

"No matter what I get I'm gonna hold on to this one, the top one," he said.

"The child is joyous and is almost luminescent. So for me I look at this family, I have three sons, I have a wife, and I have a family and you know this is going to be a gift to this family that's going to allow this child to be a productive citizen," Romo said.

Sometimes Santa Claus is a plastic surgeon who wears hospital scrubs by day and an awesome ugly Christmas sweater by night.

And sometimes the best gift can be a beaming smile, giving new meaning to the expression, "grinning from ear to new ear."

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