Documentary on Maurice Simpson, neurofibromatosis to air Sunday

Oct 6 2010 - 11:12pm


(KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner) Maurice Simpson plays basketball with his son, Rashawn, at his home in Washington Terrace on Wednesday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner) Maurice Simpson plays basketball with his son, Rashawn, at his home in Washington Terrace on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON TERRACE -- Ogden's most recognizable face will soon be seen across the entire country.

On Sunday, a documentary about Maurice Simpson's latest surgery to remove tumors on his face will air at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on The Learning Channel, TLC.

On Comcast television, the program will be on Channel 30. On Dish Network, it will be on Channel 183. On Direct TV, it will air on Channel 280. It will last about an hour.

Simpson is also slated to appear on a number of national talk shows Friday, but final arrangements had not been made by 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"I'm more than thrilled to bring awareness to NF," he said. "Not everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to have mine."

Simpson, 34, is afflicted with neurofibromatosis or NF, a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on the right side of his face and head. The tumors get bigger over time.

He is disfigured by elongated tubular lesions hanging most noticeably from his eye socket and nose, leaving him with only one eye.

Simpson said NF is more prevalent than people realize, although most cases are not as severe as his.

"There are so many people around Ogden that have NF but it doesn't show as much," he said. "People tell me I'm strong. They ask me to talk to their kids and it's a blessing."

Sunday's documentary, titled "My Brand New Face," was produced by the Darlow Smithson Production Company from the United Kingdom.

Videographers followed Simpson and his family last spring for 10 days, mostly before his second surgery.

"I'm excited," Simpson said. "I haven't seen the documentary yet. I'm excited to see it."

Simpson's family also has received word that they may be the subjects of an upcoming reality television show.

"We may be the new John and Kate Plus Eight," said Charity Simpson, Maurice's wife.

Simpson, his wife, and two of their five children are traveling to New York today to prepare for their television appearances.

Charity Simpson said they are excited for the vacation.

"A free trip to New York and stuff," she said. "I don't think we have to pay for a dang thing."

Simpson said the documentary and the surrounding publicity will help him to realize one of his most important goals: to talk to people about his experiences, especially those with his kind of disorder or those with self-esteem issues.

"I want to go around and talk to people and help them," he said.

His other major life goal has been to serve as a head basketball coach, which he has done for several years for area youth.

But Simpson said his latest accomplishments would not have been possible had it not been for an area businessman who stepped forward to pay for Simpson's surgeries.

"None of this would have been possible without my guardian angel. I owe him the world.

"I wish he would let me say his name," he said of the donor, who wants to remain anonymous other than to Simpson's family. "I really would say his name but he won't let me."

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