Jose Serrano, of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, has one of the most gigantic tumours anyone has ever seen on his neck and has had to live with it all his life, despite only being ten years old now. When he was first born, the cystic growth – known as lymphangioma – appeared almost immediately and was about the size of a small ball. It has continued to grow as he has gotten older and is now the size you can see in the pictures around this page.
Although it has been life threatening ever since it first appeared – doctors initially didn’t know if Serrano would survive the night when they first discovered it on him as a baby – it’s become even more serious now as it could soon affect his breathing as it begins to build pressure on his wind pipe and invades his lungs. However, thanks to being spotted by Baptist missionaries who were working in an orphanage in Ciudad Juarez, doctors have been put in touch with specialists from the University of New Mexico’s Children’s Hospital who believe they may have a solution to help Jose. It goes by the name of viagra.
Although everyone knows what viagra is and what it does (har har) and might wonder why anyone would be giving it to a ten year old kid (I don’t blame you), a lesser known quality of it is apparently the ability to shrink cystic growths such as the one Jose suffers from. So this really isn’t that out of the ordinary at all – although it sounds completely weird and almost perverse – and will hopefully help Jose.
The Baptist missionaries have also managed to set up a fund to finance Jose’s medical bills (which are pretty expensive – $2000 a week for medications and $125,000 for the treatment and surgery) supplied by donations from the medical centre, their church and from private citizens all over the world. Drug make Pfizer have agreed to cover the cost of the viagra too, which is obviously a big plus. Jose’s treatment would have been unable to happen without their help, as Jose’s family describes the bills as ‘more money than he would hope to see in a lifetime’ – giving you some indication of how desperate the situation had been for them beforehand.
Jose himself is pretty excited and hopeful about the treatment and hopes that it will enable him to live a normal life: ‘If the doctors can cure me I will be so happy. I would be thrilled. I would be healthy and I’d be able to do anything I want. I could run fast, play on the swings and rings – anything I want.’ Aside from the obvious visual stigma, Jose can’t swim because the water hurts him and also gets tired easily if he takes part in any kid of sporting activity. The cysts also affect his movements.
Let’s all hope that this treatment manages to come through and he can live a normal life. He was featured on an episode of Body Bizarre on TLC UK which aired last night and is bound to be repeated countless times throughout the week. There’s a clip from it below and pictures.
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