Meet Natalie Merlo, an 18-year-old college freshman from
Seattle, as she is about to embark on a journey she’s been waiting for her
Natalie was diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome as a child,
which is a rare disorder that causes the skull’s bones to fuse prematurely,
affecting not only appearance but also vision and breathing as well.
“When people first meet me, I can see that they know there
is something off about my appearance, but they can’t place it,” Natalie told
CBS News last summer.
Complex craniofacial surgery could help Natalie, but doctors
had to wait until she stopped growing. This year, they decided to perform the surgery
before Natalie would attend Villanova University in Philadelphia. Here she is
the day of the surgery.
With help from Natalie and doctors at Seattle Children’s
Hospital, follow along to see Natalie’s long-awaited transformation unfold…