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    This Girl Had A Football-Sized Tumour Removed From Her Face And The Outcome Is Utterly Heartwarming

    These pictures are shocking, but this is a story with a happy ending.

    This is the horrific tumour 17-year-old Grace, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, had growing on her jaw bone.

    The tumour – formed by cells that usually make the enamel of teeth – would have eventually killed her.

    Local hospitals weren't able to help her. She was still able to speak and eat, but her embarrassment meant she stopped going to school.

    But charity hospital Mercy Ships performed a four-hour surgery, removing the teen's tumour, lower jaw and teeth.

    She told Barcroft Media: "It started from a little swelling inside and the gums started growing little by little. We went to hospital and they didn’t know what it was – they did nothing.”

    Finally, a Christian pastor campaigned to get her medical help, posting Grace’s story on the church website. One of its readers told them about Mercy Ships.

    The charity operates a converted Danish rail ferry called the Africa Mercy, which provides free healthcare.

    Surgeon Dr Gary Parker told Barcroft Media: “When it grows where it is in the mouth - as it expands it pushes the tongue into the back of the throat and that’s when they get into airway crisis where they can’t breathe."

    Parker cut away the huge lump and replaced Grace's jaw with titanium plates.

    He told Barcroft Media: “When she heals six months from now she can have artificial teeth if she wants. That will help her with her chewing – appearance-wise and functionally she should be able to have a normal life.”

    Brilliantly, Grace is now hoping to study medicine and pursue a career in nursing.

    She said: "They made me happy – now I want to study and help other people. I would like to work on the Mercy Ship to help people for free, like they have done for me."

    Grace's story will appear in a new series of Body Bizarre, which airs every Thursday at 9pm on TLC.