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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.

Originally posted on
Updated on

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

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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.

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media
Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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.”

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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.

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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."

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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.”

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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."

Mercy Ships / Barcroft Media

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