Rare deadly tumor leaves Vietnamese boy without face

TN News

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Le Trung Tuan and his mother at their house in Thanh Hoa Province

Le Trung Tuan of the northern province of Thanh Hoa has not gone to school for more than four years since he no longer has a face.

A rare and dangerous tumor, which Hanoi doctors say is incurable, covers almost his entire face, pushing his eyes to the sides. But he can see from only one of them now, while both bleed often. His nose and ears no longer function.

The 14-year-old has lost 15 kilograms since he can barely eat half a small bowl of rice per day.

He does not go anywhere except to hospitals since he cannot stand people staring at him.

"I want to go back to the old days, to go back to school and have fun without curious eyes on me," the boy told online newspaper Dan Tri.

His parents said Tuan's happy days at school, where he had been doing well, ended in March 2009 when he felt "uncomfortable" in his face and his left nostril stopped working.

They took their only child to hospitals in the province and Hanoi, and doctors at the Central ENT Hospital said he had a rare tumor that was usually fatal and could not be cured by surgery or radiotherapy.

Tuan was then taken to various leading medical facilities in the capital such as the Vietnam-Cuba Hospital, the Vietnam-Germany Hospital, Bach Mai Hospital, the K Hospital specializing in cancer, and military hospitals, but they all said the same thing.

Recently his parents read that Cho Ray, Ho Chi Minh City's leading hospital, had successfully performed a surgery on a similar case, and sent Tuan's medical file.

The hospital has not promised anything, saying merely that diagnosis alone would cost more than VND500 million (US$24,000).

Nguyen Thi Hong, who had 10 miscarriages before giving birth to Tuan, said her husband is a truck driver and she is a small vendor and they earn barely enough for a livelihood.

"But if there is treatment available for my son, we can sell our house and work like beggars," she told Dan Tri.

"It killed me when one time he said he dreamt of his late grandmother who asked him to go with him, and begged me to keep him, saying he would suffer any pain just to live with us."

Donations to Le Trung Tuan can be sent to his house at Ward 1, Ben Sung Town, Nhu Thanh District (his father Le Trung Ha's cell phone number is 0984.722.489), or to Dan Tri's offices at:

- Alley 2, 48 Giang Vo Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi

- 46 Nguyen Cong Tru Street, Tan Giang Ward, Ha Tinh

- 25 Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Thanh Khe District, Da Nang

- 39L Road 11 (Mieu Noi), Ward 3, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City

- 53/13 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho

Or they can be sent to Dan Tri's Vietcombank account 045 100 194 4487, VietinBank account 10 201 0000 220 639, or Military Bank account 0721100356359.

Donations in dollars can be sent to Vietcombank account 045 137 195 6482 (swift code BFTVVNVX), or to Military Bank (Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank) account 0721100357002 (swift code MSCBVNVX).

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