A mother and daughter with identical facial tumours have been given a new lease life after volunteer doctors removed the growths for free. The mother, known only as Valerie, was bullied for 25 years over her 8lbs (3.6kg) salivary-gland tumour, which dominated the right side of her face.
She was devastated when her daughter Edith, now 12, developed a similar growth five years ago, which started as just a small lump behind her ear.
Barely able to make ends meet, the pair, from Cameroon, had no choice but to let the bulging masses grow until Valerie discovered the floating hospital Mercy Ships was docked eight hours away.
Valerie made the heartbreaking decision to leave her daughter while she traveled to have life-changing surgery.
After a lengthy six-week recovery, she returned to her village, only to make the voyage again with Edith in tow. It is unclear how much Edith’s tumour weighed.
Speaking of when her surgery bandages were removed, Valerie said: ‘I said “Wow! Is this really me? Is this really happening to me?” It’s a miracle.’
Valerie, who lives in poverty, was forced to endure her growth for decades and was left heartbroken when Edith developed the same tumour at just seven years old.
Valerie was operated on aboard the UK-charity’s vessel ‘Africa Mercy’ by the volunteer surgeon Dr Gary Parker. After being away from home for a month-and-a-half, she returned to her village tumour-free, full of hope for Edith.
The pair returned to the floating hospital two weeks later, with Edith also going under the knife.
Edith spent two months recovering aboard Mercy Ships – which has performed 95,000 operations in developing countries since its 1978 launch – before returning home with her mother.