TEENAGER Kade Romain could have her Christmas wish granted this year when she undergoes a second operation to provide her with ears.
The youngster will undergo painstaking reconstructive surgery in Edinburgh on December 19, a follow-up to her first operation in September.
Kade came to the UK last November with local couple Derek and Robina Addison to undergo the procedure to fit a bone-anchored hearing aid.
Kade was born without ears and now also has the chance to receive cosmetic surgery to create them.
This week Mrs Addison said that Kade is progressing well after her first operation, although the plan to fit the hearing aid has been shelved due to concerns over the care she would receive once she returns to Trinidad.
Bone assisted hearing aids transmit sound from the mastoid bone behind the ear and are thought to improve hearing by as much as 50 per cent.
While the bone anchored device would have been permanent, the plan is now to fit a removable band which operates in the same way.
She said: "The surgeon who was going to do the operation had worked in Trinidad and he wasn't keen to do this as he was worried it wouldn't be looked after or that it could be damaged.
"We're now going for a band which Kade can take off. It's like a hairband and the device will sit on the bone. That will be done after her ears and we'll meet the new surgeon while we're down in Edinburgh."
Specialists from Spire Hospital at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, heard about Kade's case and called the Addisons in for a consultation, when the cosmetic surgery was suggested.
The private treatment, which involves grafting cartilage taken from Kade's ribs, will be carried out over four eight-hour operations. The Addisons are paying for the hearing aid themselves, which has been backed up by local fund-raising and donations, but the hospital has waived its 50,000 fee for reconstructive surgery on Kade's ears.
Mrs Addison said: "It looks as if Kade's Christmas wish will be granted, but we've still a long way to go. She has taken it all on the chin and got on with it. She's a really strong youngster and started back at school a fortnight ago."
Treatment was delayed earlier this year after problems arose with Kade's visa, and the Addisons had to re-apply for a medical visa to keep her in the country.
That is due to expire in January and Mrs Addison said the entire application process will have to be gone through again.
She said: "The visa will be for another six months. We had applied for two years but the immigration service wasn't having it. We'll need at least a year for it to be all over and done with.
"Kade is really incredible and has come on so far, and has taught us a lot about bravery and patience."