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Regional Reports from across the state complied and edited by Jeanne Frois

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ears for evan

With his mop of spun-gold hair and large expressive eyes spiked with thick dark lashes, Evan Holley is a beautiful, sparkling 3-year-old. The birth of Evan and his twin brother, Aiden, was the answer to prayers made by their parents, Terry and Angela Holley, who awaited pregnancy for six years. According to Stacy Temple of Monroe’s News Star, the twins were born prematurely on March 11, 2007. Angela’s pregnancy was fraught with difficulty from the beginning. The Holleys were informed by their physician that one twin (who would be named Aiden after birth) had suffered a stroke while in utero. The parents braced themselves to prepare for a child who would be born with complications, and indeed, Aiden was born with mild cerebral palsy.

But Terry immediately knew in the delivery room that something was wrong with
his other son before he actually saw him.

“His cry was different,” he said.

Evan was born without ears.

Specifically, he was born with bilateral microtia/atresia, a condition that causes the absence of both ear canals and actual external ears, along with another condition known as hemifacial microsomia that causes underdevelopment of the lower half of his face.

Before they ever left the hospital, the Holleys began contacting specialists, and being proactive paid off.

 Although Evan was taught sign language, he can now communicate verbally due to a bone conduction hearing aid he wears on a headband 24/7.

Even while working full-time and taking care of two sons with special needs, Angela’s compassion wasn’t directed only to her family. She visits with area NICUs and talks with parents and also participates in Families Helping Families. And a new but no less vital cause has appeared on the horizon: In a few short years, Evan will start school, and the family finds itself facing another possible problem: peer ridicule by schoolchildren because of his appearance.

The Holleys, through an online family support group, learned that Evan is a prime candidate for surgery that would construct for him a pair of ears.

But the Holleys’ elation at the good news was short-lived after they were told by their insurance company the surgery was considered “cosmetic” and therefore would not be covered. So the Holleys have another challenge to face: find a way to pay for it themselves.

At first reluctant to go public with Evan’s condition, they decided to ask for help while also educating people.

“It’s really hard asking for help and having your baby publicized and having to tell people why he doesn’t have ears,” Angela said in the News Star. “But ... it’s amazing how people have come together.”

Centric Federal Credit Union has an account for donations made out to the Evan Holley Medical Fund, and collection canisters can be found in area businesses.

For more information, visit www.earsforevan.blogspot.com.

I don’t know what it is about a Sunday brunch that beckons so much, especially during warmer weather days. Maybe it’s the luminous colors of the morning that strike as you leave church, or maybe it’s a holiday, such as Mother’s or Father’s Day, that makes you want to venture out for something special. One doesn’t usually associate an ethnic restaurant with a Sunday brunch, and that’s a huge mistake –– one of the best brunches I ever had was in California at a place called Jungry Jose’s: all homemade ingredients, washed down with salty margaritas. At Ristorante Giuseppe, with its Italian menu, this ethnic brunch is no less unforgettable.

 To awaken your palate, start off with a Bellini, that magic brew of peach nectar, peach schnapps and champagne, and then savor an appetizer such as Mozzarella Vegeteriana –– grilled eggplant, zucchini, tomato and pesto layering the sweet pungency of mozzarella cheese.

One of my favorite meals, Veal Picata, a tender veal scallop that melts in your mouth in a swirl of garlicky lemon-butter over angel hair pasta, is another perfect menu offering.

Giuseppe’s offers homemade gelatos and tiramisu, but I admire the way he has taken dessert one step further by marrying the Louisiana tradition of creme brûlées with Italian gelato: two flavors of creme brûlée are offered along with one flavor of the gelato, resulting in a delicious cultural merge.

Ristorante Giuseppe, Uptown Shopping Center, 4800 Line Ave., Building A, Shreveport, (318) 869-4548, www.ristorantegiuseppe.com

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