Kiran Fernando is just 18 months old, but he’s already had seven surgeries. The Bloomfield toddler, who was born at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, faces countless more — due to a rare congenital condition called Goldenhar syndrome. He was born with one eye about the size of a pea and unformed ears, and he wears a hearing aid that is secured around his head with elastic. He is already learning sign language.
But last night, at Christ Episcopal Church in Glen Ridge, Kiran — clutching a DVD of Dora the Explorer — completely charmed a group of about 30 actors, ages 13 to 30, who will be putting on the show “Pippin” later this summer. Bloomfield’s Charles Sellers Foundation, also known as Talent Time Players, does a show every summer to raise money for one child with medical needs. This year, Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy, who lives on the same street as the Fernandos, made the match.
Kiran’s mother Dana spoke movingly and candidly about Kiran’s health problems, and the family watched a bit of the rehearsal. Afterwards, the young actors sat on the floor, completely surrounding his stroller, and indulged him as he threw the Dora DVD out of the stroller again and again. “That’s it,” Dana said. “You’re the new babysitters.”