Dateline | January 06, 2014
>>> four bullied teens waited to hear back from a plastic surgery foundation that might just change their lives by changing their looks. but just being bullied won't get them chosen.
>> we are not a bullying foundation, but we have kids with facial birth defects that are bullied.
>> she's 14 years old from alabama.
>> reporter: cheyenne was born with a condition bpes. here the foundation's doctors debated if they could improve upon the surgeries she had had before. if they decided they couldn't help her, she wouldn't be coming to new york.
>> she's had reasonable work done. this is very, very hard to fix.
>> reporter: but it was still unclear if renata and connor 's noses and donovan's chin qualified them for the foundation's help.
>> let me see a picture. there's a fine line here with helping somebody with cosmetic surgery or a facial birth defect .
>> reporter: as the foundation considered that question, we found donovan sitting alone in his room on prom night .
>> prom was going on, and i'm here. i do not care. i heard it be called a rite of passage for some people. for some it's just another night.
>> reporter: connor , too, had never been to a high school dance with a girl.
>> they wouldn't like me because of the way i looked or how large my nose is.
>> reporter: but it wasn't just his insecurities around girls that made him want surgery. connor 's own buddies were part of the problem.
>> they all make fun of each other.
>> reporter: right. but you feel like you get the lion's share.
>> reporter: though he still wanted surgery, connor bravely decided to tackle his problems head on by letting his friends know how much the teasing affected him.
>> does it, like, bother you when people, like, talk about your nose or no?
>> well, kind of. because some people i think are talking about me.
>> what name do you think gets you the most?
>> there's a few. the one you guys made up was toucan.
>> who was that? mike?
>> do you think it's a joke?
>> from you guys i'm kind of all right with it because everyone does it. but then there's other people i'm not friends with.
>> how long have you been picked on? since you were a little kid?
>> seventh or eighth grade.
>> reporter: it was the first time connor had ever opened up to his friends this way.
>> i feel bad when i make fun of connor because it's, like, something he can't help. i don't know if he takes it seriously or not. i've never really asked him, you know.
>> we never really ask.
>> does it make you feel bad?
>> well, you know, toucan and all that.
>> anything you want to say to us?
>> not really.
>> do you want us to stop?
>> reporter: they asked you, does it bother you.
>> reporter: and what did you feel like when they asked you that question?
>> it was weird because they've never asked me anything like that before.
>> reporter: would you feel better if they didn't call you the names they call you?
>> i'd feel a little better, i guess.
>> do you feel like you opened up to us like this?
>> to take it easy on you?
>> reporter: could this breakthrough with his friends give connor the confidence he had been looking for all without surgery? as she waited for the foundation's call, cheyenne opened up about her insecurities as well. here with her best friend , savannah. but savannah was expressing doubts about the surgery.
>> do you feel like you need to do it?
>> the surgery?
>> you don't feel like you need to but you want to?
>> why, though?
>> i don't want to be different.
>> you don't want to be different?
>> i do but i don't.
>> reporter: then cheyenne asked a question. one that suddenly revealed the heart of the matter .
>> how does it feel being beautiful?
>> why you asking me that? but i'm not that pretty.
>> yes, you are.
>> no, i'm not.
>> yes, you are.
>> no, i am not.
>> you seriously want me to answer that?
>> it's not great.
>> you still -- like people find every reason to hate on you.
>> reporter: it was the first time cheyenne heard this perspective from a friend that looks don't always equal happiness. boys are irrational. they don't just pick on the funny-looking kid. they pick on the kid they feel like is weak. and i don't know if that makes you strong because you have your nose fixed. i think you may still sometimes be that same insecure kid still.
>> part of that dynamic of a bullying and the child being bullied is also the acquiescence of the child that's being bullied. if you self-empower that child and they don't look at themselves that way, the loss of self-esteem, the anxiety, the depression, the suicidal tendoncies.
>> reporter: right.
>> if you can roll that back. then the bullets that are coming in from the bully may not have that same effect on that child.
>> reporter: while dr. romo believes that plastic surgery may not be for every child, he cautions against judging parents who feel this is the right solution.
>> don't be pc and say that somebody else's child shouldn't have the option of doing that.
>> reporter: while renata waited for a decision, she continued to go to mental health counseling . but the counselor who was against renata having surgery didn't see any progress. in fact, she saw a girl so walled up in her self-isolation that it was the counselor who changed her mind about surgery.
>> knowing renata , i do think that it would help her to feel better about herself, much, much sooner than just having counseling. she's making herself anti-social. i'm closing a door behind me. i'm in the home. i don't want to be a part of that. that's why i would say her situation is a little more extreme than some other situations.
>> reporter: will the people in new york evaluating renata 's case agree?
>> hello, renata ?