According to a story from The Washington Post, Enrique Galvan has been subjected to relentless bullying and rejection ever since he first started school. The reason why? He was diagnosed at a young age with neurofibromatosis, a rare disease that causes tumors to appear on the skin. His tumors manifested as disfiguring excessive skin growth on his neck, head, and face. Recently, Enrique, who is from Paraguay, recently received a free surgery in the US to remove the tumors.
Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that has impact on a number of the human body’s functional systems. Neurofibromatosis is caused by a mutation of a gene; which gene is affected depends on the type. This mutation can be heritable, but about half of cases are the result of spontaneous mutation. Symptoms of the disease include epilepsy, tumors affecting the nervous system and skin, spots on the skin, scoliosis and other skeletal deformations, learning and mental impairment, and vision disorders. People with the disorder also have greater risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer compared to unaffected people. The severity of symptoms can vary greatly; some people live fairly typical lives, whereas others are faced with serious quality of life challenges. There is no cure, and treatment generally involves managing serious symptoms and complications as they appear. To learn more about neurofibromatosis, click here.
Enrique endured much of his childhood suffering in silence; he never told his parents that his tumors caused him to be bullied. As a teenager, he was completely ignored and rejected by his peers and he turned to cannabis and cocaine use in an attempt to alleviate his suffering. By his early 20s, Enrique realized he was on a path of destruction and turned to Christianity to help get sober.
Enrique got treated in the US thanks to the medical outreach group IMAHelps. Enrique is now 27 years old and his tumors were so extensive that they were limiting his range of motion.
With the operation concluded, Enrique was excited to return home. While some of the tumors may grow back eventually, others will be gone for good.