Girl, 10, able to smile for first time in years after facial tumour finally removed

By Charlotte Penketh-King

A 10-year-old girl is finally able to smile for the first time in years after surgeons saved her life by removing a facial tumour.

Houssainatou, 10, began suffering with pain in her mouth when she was just a toddler and her family were shocked to see the lump grow over the years.

With the facial tumour eventually protruding from the little girl's face and forcing her to quit school at just eight years old, her father Souleymane feared his daughter would struggle and die young.

Incredibly, doctors managed to save the young girl's life with surgery onboard a hospital ship.

The facial tumour was removed and the ten-year-old girl is now living a normal life at home with her grateful family.

Maize farmer Souleymane, who lives in a town in the highlands of Guinea with his wife, daughter Houssainatou and her four siblings, said: "I cannot believe it. She is so beautiful!

"I am so happy and so excited to bring her home to see the family.

Houssainatou, 10, began suffering with pain in her mouth when she was just a toddler (Shawn Thompson / Mercy Ships SWNS)

"I can only get enough food to feed my family, but not extra. I'd never have the means to take care of surgery for my daughter.

"We kept praying, and worrying, and looking for help.

"My heart is free now. The fear is gone. I used to spend every day afraid she would die young, but now I will spend my time helping her have a future."

The proud father added: "I want her to become a doctor so she can help people the way she herself has been helped."

The life-saving surgery came thanks to Mercy Ships - a charity which delivers free life-saving surgery in west and central Africa.

Houssainatou underwent several rounds of patient selection screenings before she was accepted for free surgery onboard hospital ship, the 'Africa Mercy'.

After just one day and a four hour surgery, Houssainatou was able to see herself in the mirror, tumour-free, for the first time in her young life and is now living life to the fullest.


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