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Courageous Peter raises $9,000 to help others

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John Meara, plastic surgeon in chief at Boston Children's Hospital, was so impressed with Peter Strachan's "delicious nutritious" cookbook, the hospital is to incorporate it into its post-surgery recovery programme

A 12-year-old schoolboy has raised more than $9,000 in just a year to help people with facial disfigurements.

Now Peter Strachan, born with a cleft lip and palate, is to split the cash among island and international charities that work with people who need facial surgery.

Peter, who raised the money through a GoFundMe page has also launched the Face Bermuda website as a source of support for people with facial disfigurement.

He said: “I wanted to launch Face Bermuda because there is no society in Bermuda that does that — that is why it was so important.”

The Somersfield Academy pupil added: “Almost half of young people who look different are bullied about their appearance at school. The vast majority, 90 per cent, say their primary school did not succeed in stopping the bullying.”

Britain marked Face Equality Day on May 23 and Peter believes that it should be adopted on the island.

He added many people in Bermuda had suffered facial injuries after road crashes, through cancer and burns, as well as people born with disfigurements.

Peter, from Smith’s, said: “Face Equality Day gives a unique insight into how people feel. Our culture’s relentless focus on appearance and the huge pressure on us all to look good affects us at a deep level.”

The cash will go to the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association, which helps fund medical treatment, Changing Faces, a British campaign group and Smile Train, an international charity set up to help children with cleft lip and palate.

Peter said: “I chose them because they are the main ones that fund and deal with facial disfigurement.”

The youngster contacted doctors to gauge demand before he launched Face Bermuda and his fundraising page.

Peter’s website has medical information, advice on bullying and includes a cookbook for people who have come out of surgery.

John Meara, plastic surgeon in chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, was so impressed with Peter’s “delicious, nutritious” cookbook, the hospital is to add it to its post-surgery recovery programme.

Adina Lescher, director for community fundraising at Smile Train, told Peter in an e-mail: “This generous gift will provide cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care for 12 children in the developing world.

“We are so grateful that you have chosen to partner with Smile Train.”

Veronica Harvey, executive director at the LCCA, said Peter was “simply an awesome young man”.

“We thank Peter for this donation to the LCCA that we will allocate to a child or adult requiring any kind of facial surgery.”

She added: “It is through the kind deeds of members of our community that the LCCA continues to thrive.”

Becky Hewitt, CEO of Changing Faces, said: “Changing Faces can only continue its life-changing work with the help of amazing supporters like Peter.

“We are so impressed by everything he has achieved. His contribution represents the spirit of this year’s Face Equality Day: young people in the lead and achieving great things.”

Jacqueline Alma, Peter’s mother, said: “It has been incredible — they are absolutely blown away that at his young age he has done this and they have been incredibly grateful.”

She added: “Everyone says they know someone with facial disfigurement and they are grateful for the fact that he has got this central website that people can go to for information.”

Face Bermuda can be found at www.facebermuda.com

Charlie Judd, left, of Somersfield Academy, Dejon Simmons, Peter Strachan of Face Bermuda and Veronica Harvey of the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association