PHOENIX -- Fourteen-year-old Sofia Galaz can barely chew solid food. Her jaw is literally shifting to one side.
How this happened is a medical mystery.
“It was crazy when I got the news I felt like the walls were caving in on me. I couldn’t breathe. It was horrible” Galaz told 3TV. “Plus I didn’t understand what it was.”
“We noticed something different when she did an exam,” says Galaz’ longtime dentist, Dr. Lidieth Libby from Desert Ride Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Libby sent Galaz to see a specialist and they discovered that the disc between the two bones in her jaw is missing. The teenager’s jaw is actually touching bone to bone.
“It is a degenerative condition which means it will continue to get worse and worse,” Dr. Libby explained. “It is difficult for her to eat and her jaw is drifting to one side where the bone has not developed.”
“While I don’t consider myself deformed,” Galaz said, “technically I am.”
Doctors have told Galaz and her family that her face will continue shifting to one side and the deformity will become worse.
Her mom, Myra Yeomans, told 3TV she was in shock when she first saw the X-ray.
“When I first saw the images and to see how my little daughter has her face moving to a side – it’s really hard to accept. And to understand the whole situation we need to go through," said Yeomans.
The family said there are only three specialists in the country who do this very involved surgery – none in Arizona.
Yeomans, who is a very popular teacher at the International School in Scottsdale, has a lot of parents rallying around her family to try to help raise the $40,000 dollars they need out of pocket.
She and her husband have sold their house to try to come up with the money in an effort to give their daughter a normal life.
And Galaz can’t wait. She said she just wants to live like any other 9th grade girl.
There is a fundraiser taking place Sunday, Feb. 24 at Tapas Papa Frita at the Scottsdale Waterfront.
Visit www.sofiagalaz.com for more information.