NOVEMTHREE came up on the screen as the next show started. I stopped dead in my tracks. In fact, we all did.
Perhaps you've already heard of or seen Novemthree before? I hadn't. This poor child from the Indonesian Island of Batam suffered from the very rare condition of gigantiform cementoma. What's that? It's a colossal tumour on the face caused by the abnormal growth of a tooth or teeth. In fact, in Novemthree's case, there were several tumours.
Coming from a very poor family, there was no medical help available for the child. He was shunned by the villagers who were no doubt both frightened and repulsed by his looks. There seemed no hope for Novemthree whose both cheeks and chin were swelling so much with the tumours that his eyes were slits and he was blind in the left eye. His lips were massive and looked like they'd been turned inside out. He couldn't eat, only drink with much difficulty from a baby bottle, and of course, his body was growing weaker from malnutrition.
His saviour came in the form of in the form of Dr. David Lui, a Buddhist missionary from the Tzu Chi Foundation. Dr. Liu arranged for Novemthree and his father to go to Taiwan, and with the incredible skill and love of a host of doctors, over 4 very dangerous operations, the tumours were removed and Novemthree's mouth returned to a normal size. His eyes were opened and miraculously he could see with both of them.
The operations took place over 15 weeks, sometimes with complications, like a fever and some pneumonia Novemthree developed after the second operation, but eventually he was allowed to go home to his eagerly awaiting mom. Unfortunately they did have to leave part of one of the tumours in place in his jaw so that it could be reshaped to form the jaw which would otherwise have disappeared.
Hopes were that in the future, once he reached adulthood, bone grafts could be done to rebuild his face fully. But sadly, Novemthree passed away in September 2005 when the tumour began to grow again and it was decided very operations were too risky. Novemthree consequently developed a respiratory problem from which he didn't recover.
This is by far one of the saddest bits of tv I've seen in a long time. Check the link for full details. You'll also find some other extraordinary people on that site...not all of them pretty. Not for the faint-hearted.