Girl with football-sized tumor on her face gets a second chance at life

Grace is a 17-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo whose life was happening behind closed doors due to her horrifying appearance. Grace had an enormous tumor, the size of a football, protruding from her jaw. It started like a little lump in her mouth and swollen gums. As time passed the tumor grew incredibly big and fast until it covered most of her face. The doctors at her local hospital were unable to help her and she lived in shame. One hopeful day she jumped on board the African Mercy Ship and she had a surgery that changed her life.

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Young Grace is a normal teenage girl with the only difference that she had a monstrous looking tumor on her face. Thankfully Grace was able to speak and eat but, her life was in grave danger because she could have died any second suffocated by her tongue. Because the tumor kept growing, her tongue was being pushed back inside her throat. Poor girl! One beautiful day, a pastor from her town saw Grace and heard her desperate call for help. He posted a picture of the girl online and one of his followers told him about the doctors on board the Mercy Ship.

The Mercy Ship is a high-tech floating hospital sailing through the African waters, giving free medical assistance to those in need. The crew members are doctors, nurses, medical assistants and missionaries who work for free and live on board of the ship. When executive director Judy Polkinhorn, saw Grace's tumor, she knew her crew was going to help. They welcome the young girl on board and performed a life-changing surgery to remove the tumor from her jaw. The surgery was complicated, but if they didn't do it the girl was going to die.

After four hours, doctors replaced her jaw with metal plates made of titanium and little Grace had a new face. She is beyond happy because she looks human again. She has a normal face and she is ready to start living a normal life. Grace is so grateful that she wants to give back. She is planning on studying really hard to become a doctor or a nurse and help others in need for free. She knows she'll volunteer on the Mercy Ship and change other little girls' lives. What a beautiful story and my heart is full of love. This is her journey.  

Image via Corbis

Topics: inspirational video  self esteem  teen