NEW YORK – The Little Baby Face Foundation (LBFF) honored the well-known Greek-American plastic surgeon Dr. Theodore Diktaban on November 29.
The elegant ceremony took place at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center Plaza in Manhattan. In addition to Dr. Diktaban, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence May were also honored for their contribution to the LBFF.
The Little Baby Face Foundation was founded in 2002 by Dr. Thomas Romo. The principle underlying the Foundation is that every child born with a facial deformity deserves a good future and a higher quality of life, regardless of his or her financial means.
LBFF provides facial reconstructive surgery to children from all over the world. World class surgeons offer their time and services on a pro-bono basis. It is estimated that the LBFF has already provided assistance to more than five hundred children.
Pauline Nicholls, Vice President of the Foundation’s Public Relations, spoke with The National Herald, noting that “the institution heals children from infancy up to the age of 21. It is often necessary for patients to undergo more than one surgery. The goal is to help children below the poverty level and to provide them with the medical care they need in order to lead a normal life so that they don’t burden their families financially.”
According to the information provided by Ms. Nicholls, 80% of the children being treated come from poor regions around the United States and 20% come from the rest of the world. “The Northwell Health and Lenox Hill hospitals offer their operating rooms while the Foundation covers the costs for families to come to New York for the procedures,” she told TNH. The Little Baby Face Foundation also works with the Ronald McDonald House of New York, which provides housing for children and their families.
The purpose underlying the event was twofold: first, to honor the physicians for their incredible work; and second, to fundraise for the Foundation. “This fundraiser covers two-thirds of the Foundation’s need for cash for the whole year,” Nicholls said.
Honoree Dr. Theodore Diktaban told TNH, “I come from Smyrna and from Kavala and although I was born and raised in America, I feel 100% Greek in my heart.”
He first became interested in plastic surgery when he was still a medical student and needed to undergo a rhinoplasty himself. After that procedure, he immediately realized that this was the specialty he wanted to follow.
At the event, Dr. Diktaban revealed that he recently created a groundbreaking surgery technique that he thinks will quickly become popular. The technique is called “Vaper Nose” and aims to reduce the “hump” of the nose without patients undergoing surgical intervention.
“The Little Baby Face Foundation is one of the best organizations with which I have ever been associated. I have been with them from the beginning and will continue to offer my knowledge and to help them in the future,” Dr. Diktaban said.
The poster for the Little Baby Face Foundation. Photo: TNH/ Vasilis Voultsos
Dr. Diktaban’s office is located at 635 Madison Avenue. When asked what the most rewarding part of his work is, he responded, “I can change a person’s look and how they feel about themselves. It transforms their lives and gives them confidence.”
Later, visibly moved by the presentation, he received his award from the Foundation and with a cracked voice, he spoke about the significance of the work and the transforming power of the LBFF in the lives of children.
The entertainment portion of the evening was left in the hands of the well-known Broadway actress, Sierra Boggess, who, with her piano accompaniment and crystal-clear voice, sang popular hits from various plays and films including The Phantom of the Opera, The Wizard of Oz, and My Fair Lady. She received enthusiastic applause from the audience for her performance. Ms. Boggess said, “You all cure by using your hands, and I believe in the healing power of music.”
LBFF also recognized and thanked Dr. Joanna Roufos, Greek-American doctor of audiology. Dr. Roufos expressed gratitude for her experience of working with the Foundation and told TNH, “Dr. Diktaban’s speech touched us all tonight. He reminded us how important it is to work collectively in our multidisciplinary teams to transform the lives of these very special children.”
Honoree Dr. Theodore Diktaban and Dr. Joanna Roufos. Photo: TNH/ Vasilis Voultsos
Through the efforts of Dr. Diktaban and Dr. Roufos, two young deaf children from Greece who needed cochlear implants and auxiliary headphones will receive support from the LBFF.
The evening continued with auctions to raise money for the Foundation and concluded in a climate of general optimism for the future.
More information about the Little Baby Face Foundation is available online: littlebabyface.org.