A large facial tumor threatened to starve or suffocate 5-year-old Nagalem Haile. But then a stranger from far away came to the rescue
Not long after Nagalem Haile’s birth, a facial tumor began developing on her jaw. And as the little girl grew, so did the vascular malformation
Nagalem and her family live in a small village in Ethiopia. Therefore, the necessary medical treatment wasn’t available to her. So, the mass just continued growing larger and larger. And as a result, the little girl hid at home, refusing to go outside.
But the huge lump was more than just a physical deformity. It became a more serious threat to the little girl’s life with each passing day.
For starters, the facial tumor limited Nagalem’s ability to breathe and swallow. And if left unchecked, the poor child would “soon suffocate or starve.” Another huge risk came from the multitude of blood vessels running through the huge mass. This meant if anything nicked or ruptured the growth, Nagalem could bleed out in minutes. Something as simple as a minor cut on the playground could have dire consequences.
If no one stepped in to help, Nagalem’s vascular malformation would inevitably claim her life. But God made a way to save this sweet child!
Doctors Come Together To Remove Facial Tumor
A government official all the way from the United States ended up meeting Nagalem Haile during a mission in Ethiopia. This led to a massive search looking for doctors willing to perform the complicated and risky surgery needed to remove the facial tumor.
Dr. Milton Waner is one of the surgeons who answered the call. And with the help of Waner Children’s Vascular Anomaly Foundation, Heal the Children, USAID and Northwell Health, Nagalem would receive the life-saving surgery she so desperately needed, for free!
The Good Samaritans determined to help flew Nagalem and her father, Matios Alafa Haile, to New York City. There, they prepared them for the delicate 12-hour surgery required to remove the huge mass. And the procedure came with lots of risks.
This type of surgery is very difficult, very dangerous and certainly life-threatening,” Dr. Waner said. “We explained what would happen to the child’s father. There was a possibility she may not make it.”
Life-Saving Surgery Changes Everything
Nagalem’s medical team took painstaking care to remove the facial tumor. The many connected nerves and arteries meant even the slightest nick could cause paralysis or severe blood loss. But God guided the surgeons through the procedure and the operation was a complete success!
Matios Alafa Haile and the rest of Nagalem’s family will forever be grateful to the many doctors and strangers who helped save Nagalem’s life.
“God bless you,” Matios said after the surgery. “Without you guys it wouldn’t be like this. Thank you so much.”
But Matios also gives God the glory for this medical miracle.
“I was crying before but now I’m smiling so thanks to God,” he said. “She is like different after surgery. She is playing enjoying everything outdoors. There is a big difference. May God bless the doctors, without them this wouldn’t be like this.”