A little girl faces a life-or-death wait over Christmas after a rare tumour caused her to have an enormous tongue – which is slowly suffocating her.
Zhyrille Cruz, aged two, had a swollen mouth when she was born and shortly after she was diagnosed with lymphangioma, a condition which causes benign growths in the lymph vessels.
Parents Gerry Cruz, 28, and Mary, 22, from Manila, Philippines, took Zhyrille to doctors who dismissed the condition as harmless.
But the married couple watched in despair as the lymphangioma slowly worsened leaving Zhyrille with an enormous tongue which was slowly stopping her from breathing.
Mary took Zhyrille earlier this year to the local government ‘sweepstakes office’ where she received funding for doctors to fit a tube into her neck for her to breathe.
Zhyrille is now receiving free oral chemotherapy medicine at home as medics try to reduce the size of the benign tumour. If the tumour’s growth is stopped, doctors will put her forward for surgery which the parents will have to try and fund themselves.
Without an operation, Zhyrille is likely to be one of the rare cases – virtually unheard of in the devleoped world – where lymphangioma becomes fatal.
Despite the agonising wait, Zhyrille came across like any other toddler when she was photographed at her family home last Thursday.
Mum Mary, a housewife, said: ”Zhyrille is the light in our hearts. We don’t know what the future holds, but we will make this the best Christmas for her.
‘’Zhyrille is the best gift we could have. Her laughter makes everyone smile. I pray every day she will grow up to be a bright and beautiful young girl.
”I wish for nothing but to see a smile on her lovely face every single second. I want to see her grow up and achieve her goals. That is our dream.”
Doctors will check Zhyrille again after Christmas and decide whether to go ahead with an operation. The parents will then have to try to fund it.