A Von Recklinghausen's disease sufferer from the West African state of Burkina Faso came to Taiwan again yesterday for further surgery to improve the "new face" given to him by Taiwanese surgeons three years ago.
Vincent Kabore, called the "elephant man Ah Fu" by his Taiwanese sponsors, will check into Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou thanks to the help of the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation.
"We are grateful for all the assistance given to me by so many Taiwanese individuals and organizations, " 18-year-old Kabore said upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport accompanied by his father.
Kabore first came to Taiwan in November 2003 to undergo a series of surgical procedures at Chang Gung to have a gigantic tumor on his face removed.
Under the auspices of Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, EVA Airways and several other local private organizations, Kabore underwent two 13-hour operations in 2003 to remove the tumor which prior to the surgery, covered most of his face and neck.
Kabore's plight became known in Taiwan after Chen Yi-yen, a Taiwanese working with the Republic of China medical aid mission in Burkina Faso posted a series of reports about him on the Internet.
The Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation was established in 1989 by Samuel Noordhoff, a US surgeon-philanthropist lauded as "the father of plastic surgery in Taiwan".
Von Recklinghausen's disease, also known as neurofibromatosis, is a disease characterized by disordered growth of ectodermal tissues and a variety of other dysplastic abnormalities of skin, nerve systems, bones, endocrine organs and blood vessels.