Toddler of missionary parents gets life-saving surgery

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A 2-year-old boy with ties to Indiana has a new lease on life.

Liam Pelletier was born with craniosynostosis, a rare birth defect while his parents were doing missionary work in Zimbabwe, Africa. His mother, Kayle, says she started noticing something was wrong when he was 14 months old.

“It was very clear that something was wrong,” Pelletier said.

She says he didn’t crawl, or roll over and that his head was misshapen.

“His head could only grow longways like a watermelon and it couldn’t grow out to the side,” said Pelletier

Doctors say craniosynostosis affects only one in two thousand births. It’s caused by the skull closing too quickly in the womb. If left untreated it can lead to developmental delays, eye problems and other serious illnesses.

But with his family living in Africa there was very little that could be done.

“We started wondering how in the world are we ever going to get help for Liam,” said Pelletier.

The Pelletiers are originally from Southern Indiana and while visiting over Christmas, Liam was referred to doctors at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital who agreed to do the work for free.

And now after the surgery, they say Liam should grow up just fine.

“At this point he is a typical two-year-old,” said Dr Ronald YOung a pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital. “He went through that spectacularly well,” Dr Young said.

Liam’s surgery, which was paid for through charity care cost $83,000.

He and his family are going back to Zimbabwe to continue their missionary work on Sunday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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