Dr. Teresa Ghazoul said her family quickly put down roots when they moved to Norwalk two years ago and she's now working on her first big effort to give back to her new community.
Ghazoul, a plastic surgeon, has asked current and former patients to act as models for Metamorphosis, a spring style show and silent auction. The event will raise money to buy an Equicizer therapy horse for pediatric patients at Fisher-Titus Medical Center.
She said the inspiration for the style show and silent auction is two-fold. Her patients can display the new confidence they've gained from surgery and procedures. The pediatric therapy program will also eventually get a piece of equipment that will help many children dealing with long-term therapy needed for conditions such as cerebral palsy and others which require extensive muscular therapy.
Retired jockey Frank Lovato designed the Equicizer and builds them at his rural Norwalk home. He said in an earlier Norwalk Reflector story that the non-motorized mechanical horse can be used for training, exercise, fitness and rehabilitation as riders generate motion using their core muscles.
"It can be ridden aggressively or gently, but it's no toy," he said.
After she got the chance to attend a demonstration of the Equicizer, Ghazoul said she realized the many benefits one of the mechanical horses could give to therapy for children.
"The kids would get a benefit that they don't even realize they're getting," she said, because riding the "horse" wouldn't seem like exercise to them. "You could center a whole therapy around this."
She said she had seen pictures where the horses were dressed in racing silks to seem more life-like to children. Ghazoul said she had also seen children kiss the Equicizer after finishing a therapy session "just as if it were a real horse."
Once there were no cameras around, she admitted with a smile, she climbed on to take a ride and immediately realized the exercise it could provide. Since the benefits of horseback riding therapy have been established for many years, Ghazoul said, this would bring those benefits inside and make them available year-round to area children.
The doctor said Lovato will bring an Equicizer to the benefit style show for a demonstration.
Ghazoul said she is excited about the event because she wants to help her new community in more ways through her plastic surgery.
One of the best parts of her practice, she said, is seeing the change is people's lives after they view the results of plastic surgery or treatments. "Cosmetic surgery is fun," she said. "I love doing that."
While some people might see plastic surgery as a symbol of vanity, she said, the specialty developed during World War II when doctors saw the need for reconstructive surgery for both soldiers and civilians injured in battles. Today plastic surgeons deal with everything from babies with problems such as cleft palates to older patients dealing with skin cancer.
Ghazoul's practice also offers something usually seen only in large cities an aesthetician. A certified professional from the Cleveland area travels to Norwalk to treat local patients with skin treatments that don't require surgery.
"I've had a number of patients that aren't ready to take the plunge into plastic surgery, but they want some improvement," Ghazoul said, adding that non-surgical treatments are also much less expensive than surgery.
Ghazoul said her entire practice in California focused on cosmetic surgery and procedures. Her Norwalk and Bellevue practices are very different. The doctor estimated only 25 to 30 percent of her work here is cosmetic, adding that she works with quite a few breast cancer survivors and also elderly patients.
"Surprisingly, I've been able to draw from quite an area," Ghazoul said, including patients from Avon, Fremont, Tiffin, Port Clinton and Marblehead. "It is unusual for a small town to have a plastic surgeon, but Norwalk and Bellevue are in a unique area. There's a draw from a large area here."
She comes to Norwalk with impressive credentials as former chief of the largest plastic surgery group in the nation in Beverly Hills, Calif., and experience as an aesthetic plastic surgeon in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Ariz. Prior to those jobs, she practiced in Cleveland after serving as a second lieutenant at Wright Patterson Air Force base and a first lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps for the Ohio National Guard.
While she's glad to be back in her home state, Ghazoul said her stints out west helped her develop her craft in her specialty.
"Being out in Arizona and California kept me on the cutting edge of things," she said. But she and her husband, John, decided to bring their four children back to their home state because they wanted them to grow up with the values their parents had gained from the Midwest.
"I'm from a small town. You know everyone and you know their families," Ghazoul said. "California wasn't as comfortable a place to raise children.
"People reach out more here," she said, adding that neighbors in California never would have done things the family has enjoyed here such as dropping off Christmas cookies. "We continue to be surprised every day by people's kindness here."
Her practice is located on the FTMC campus, 272 Benedict Avenue, in Medical Park 3, Suite 450. The phone number is (419) 668-7010. Her Bellevue office is at 1400 W. Main St. in the Bellevue Hospital.
Procedures she specializes in include breast augmentation and reconstruction, liposuction, tummy tucks, eyelid procedures, laser resurfacing, dermabrasion treatments, facelifts, rhinoplasty, skin cancer, scar revision, otoplasty, permanent hair removal, photofacials, dermatology skin procedures, pulse-light laser procedures and injections of botox, restylane and collagen.
INFO FOR BOX ON STYLE SHOT
Metamorphosis - Spring Style Show and Silent Auction
Sunday, March 2 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Castaway Bay Ballroom, 2001 Cleveland Road, Sandusky
Tickets $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12
Dessert and coffee bar, door prizes
Call (419) 660-2528 for ticket information
Tickets also available at FTMC gift shop
Plastic Surgery of North Central Ohio
Sheri's Coffee House
The Salon at Castaway Bay
Curves in Norwalk, Huron and Sandusky
Sponsored by Dr. Teresa Ghazoul
Admiral's Daughter Fine Fashions & Home Dcor
1887 Shops at Sawmill Creek