A 12-year-old girl can smile at last after surgeons abstracted a tumor that was taking over her entire face – and killing her literally.
Known only as Kaltoumi, after 5 years living with the growth, she was rescued when surgeons onboard the Africa Mercy – a hospital ship providing care to third world countries – docked in Cameroon to conduct the surgery.
The tumor restricted the pre-teen’s eating and gradually suffocated her. Ultimately, Kaltoumi was termed as having the ‘potential to be a world-changer’, was flown by the Cameroonian government to the dock. Once aboard, the surgical team worked indefatigably to remove the tumor.
Following the surgery Kaltoumi, who is eating properly and smiling for the first time in years, stated: “It feels like a heaviness has been lifted from me.”
Dr. Gary Parker, chief medical officer and surgeon, detailed Kaltoumi as the ‘poster child’ for five billion people incapable to access ‘timely, affordable, safe surgery’ in destitute countries on the continent.
“Because of lack of access to the care she needed, a 12-year-old girl ended up with a massive tumor threatening her life,” added Dr. Parker. “A man becomes a creature of his uniform. The ‘uniform’ that’s put on someone like Kaltoumi, as this tumour relentlessly enlarges, is that you’re cursed.
“You’re not a worthy member of this human race. When that uniform changes, dramatic things can happen. Who you are, which has been lost for all these years, starts to bubble back up again. She has the potential to be a world-changer because she has the determination to never give up.”
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