Lai’s family never imagined how drastically their lives would change when at the early age of three, a tumor began to grow on their baby girl’s tongue leaving her face severely deformed and hindering her ability to eat, speak and even breath.
The tumor started out as little more than a cyst on Lai's tongue when she was three years old. At that stage, surgery to remove the growth would have been quick, cheap and relatively painless. But Dao had little access to medical care where she lived, and the tumor went untreated.
Desperate, the Dao family used most of their extremely meager resources to try and get help for their daughter. But the small mountain village where they live in Vietnam did not have the medical resources to tend to Lai’s condition. The family was told there was nothing left to do but to take Lai home, “make her comfortable” and wait for her to die. Fortunately for the Dao family, their days of suffering ended when a visiting tourist contacted the International Kids Fund. Soon, Lai was scheduled for surgery at Holtz Children’s Hospital. Lai Thi Dao ,
Surgeons at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center performed a 14 hour procedure to remove the growth in April 2008 once the mass was removed, doctors determined that the tumor weighed 12 pounds, 9.9 ounces. The growth has kept her from a normal life, and it could have been fatal if left to grow. Lai had additional reconstructive surgery on October 10 2008.
The doctors involved with the surgery said the Schwannoma tumor was one of the largest ever reported -- perhaps even the largest such facial tumor in history but it probably won't return now that it has been removed.
The surgery was made possible by the International Kids Fund.
Isn't God wonderful?