Nadia Ilse is looking forward to the new school year, when she will no longer be called "Dumbo" by her peers for her "elephant ears."
To ward off school bullies who began taunting her in the first grade for her ears, Nadia begged her mother at the age of 10 for an otoplasty -- an operation to pin her ears back.
The teen, now 14, was recently granted her wish by the Little Baby Face Foundation, a charity that provides free corrective surgery to children born with facial deformities.
Nadia told CNN that the bullying turned her talkative self into a withdrawn, antisocial girl. The taunting "hurt so much," she told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
When the Little Baby Face Foundation was contacted by Nadia's mother, the organization brought the duo to New York City from Georgia and did more than just pin her ears back. The organization's founder, Dr. Thomas Romo, III. also performed reduction rhinoplasty, reducing the size of the nose, and mentoplasty, altering the chin.
The foundation covered the estimated $40,000 cost of surgery.
Avoiding school bullying by going under the knife is on the rise among American teens. In 2007 alone, about 90,000 youth underwent cosmetic surgery -- though not all cases were the result of teasing.
While Nadia says she knows she should have been accepted as she was before the surgery, she also knew the bullying wouldn't end and has no regrets following the procedure.
"I look beautiful, this is exactly what I wanted, I love it," she said.
Nadia must still start counseling as part of her treatment to overcome the years of psychological distress from bullying, but Little Baby Face board member Don Moriarity told MailOnline that Nadia's new outlook demonstrates the group's mission.
"We like to say that Baby Face transforms the lives of these children and gives them newfound confidence," Moriarity said.
Nadia's story emerges months after 13-year-old Nicolette Taylor was featured on ABC's Nightline for her nose surgery to overcome online harassment and name-calling at school. There was also global outcry when 7-year-old Samantha Shaw had her ears pinned back to escape name-calling and harassment last year.
So through all this, what advice would you give parents? Gupta asked Nadia.
"Give your children a lot of love and affection and tell them that they're beautiful every single day," she said.
Most states now have bullying laws that require schools to adopt bullying policies, and efforts to combat school bullying have escalated over the last decade, according to a report released in December by the U.S. Department of Education.
Between 1999 and 2010, more than 120 bills were adopted by state legislatures to introduce or amend legislation that address bullying, harassment or similar behavior in schools. By the time of the Education Department study's conclusion, there were 46 states with enacted anti-bullying laws, 36 with regulations that work against cyberbullying and 13 that give schools the authority to monitor and address bullying behavior even when it occurs off school grounds.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this piece incorrectly spelled Nadia's last name. We regret the error.
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