ETHAN is bright and friendly and loving.

But other children do not always see that.

They see the cysts that blight his face, eye and throat.

He went to play with other small children in a pub but one went look at his face!' and they started laughing at him.

"They were only children but it was heart-breaking, especially because Ethan only wanted to play," said mum, Karen Bell, aged 35, from Well Lane, Penketh, who lives with partner Kevin Connolly, a software consultant.

The couple are trying to raise tens of thousands of pounds for a specialist to operate and change his looks - and his life.

Ethan, aged three, has lymphangioma, a disorder that creates cysts in soft tissue.

They block his throat and he has had to have a tracheotomy to breathe. They also line his jaw and he has them behind and above an eye.

Ethan suffered a heart attack not long after birth and needed a seven-hour operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital to get rid of some of the cysts.

The family need to take a suction machine everywhere Ethan goes in case the tracheotomy gets blocked.

Karen said the NHS will only operate if the cysts bleed, and will remove the tracheotomy in Ethan's teens.

But she wants the operation soon so that Ethan has the chance to grow up like any other child.

"It hate to say it, but I hope he will look as a normal as possible," said Karen.

"He is a little character. He has a lot of friends at nursery. He is very cute and caring with his little sister Milly and he is a show off - he sings and dances and could talk about dinosaurs for hours.

"But if he goes to the park he gets stared at a lot. I want the operations because of the way people treat him. I think he will end up psychologically damaged before they do anything about it."

The family hope he can see an American specialist who operates and uses lasers to remove the cysts and who flies over to Berlin twice a year. Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, has said it will handle the aftercare.

Ethan's family have set up a community bank account to fund treatment. Operations cost £15,000 but he will need several.

You can send donations to Ethan's Journey, Newsdesk, Warrington Guardian, 138 Bridge Street, Warrington, WA1 2RU. Cheques should be made payable to Ethan's Journey.

Or donate online by clicking here