A five-year-old Indonesia boy suffering from Von Recklinghausen's disease arrived in Taipei yesterday accompanied by his father and volunteers from the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation.
Shortly afterwards, the boy, named Novendry, and his father flew to Hualien, where he will undergo a series of craniofacial surgeries at the Tzu Chi Hospital to have a large tumor removed and his face restructured.
Von Recklinghausen's disease, also known as neurofibromatosis or "Elephant Man's disease" is a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors on the body. There is no known cure.
Novendry has suffered from the disease since he was one-year old. His right eye has been submerged by a facial tumor.
Given the seriousness of his condition, he will probably stay in this country for several months to have his disease treated and face restructured, according to Tzu Chi medical authorities.
His trip would not have happened without the recent help of a group of Singapore-based Tzu Chi volunteers. Some 300 Tzu Chi volunteers, including doctors and nurses, traveled to Padang, Indonesia last month to provide free medical services. During their stay, they found Novendry.
After examining Novendry and learning of his family's financial difficulties, the Tzu Chi volunteers decided to help him receive craniofacial and plastic surgery at Tzu Chi Hospital in Hualien.
Last November, a teenager from Burkina Faso suffering for the same disease, underwent a series of operations at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linko, Taoyuan.
He had a facial tumor removed and then his right eye, mouth and right ear returned to their original locations.