January 13, 2008
ENCINITAS – Nearly her entire head was swathed in bandages from her sixth surgery in 2½ years, but a drowsy Natasha Ivanishcheva was upbeat.
She was born in the Ukraine with Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic birth defect that distorted her skull, ear and face. She was abandoned by her parents and treated like a freak when she ventured out in public.
The 18-year-old was among more than 100 disadvantaged children and young adults receiving free reconstructive surgery and related medical services at a weekend event organized by the nonprofit Fresh Start Surgical Gifts in Carlsbad…