The desperate family of a one-year-old Zimbabwean boy with a debilitating facial deformity are pleading for help to save his life.
Prosper Mathe was a happy, healthy baby but soon his parents noticed his lower lip and tongue was growing rapidly.
Doctors diagnosed him with haemangioma, a benign, non-cancerous tumour of the endothelial cells, but the poor family have no money to pay for an operation.
Prosper’s tongue is so large that it threatens to suffocate him, which forced doctors to cut off the tip.
His mother, Moditor Shoko, has no job and his father, Gilfred Mathe, works in a supermaket and they cannot scrape together the funds to pay for the surgery
His father said that after failing to find doctors that could help them in Zimbabwe, they moved to South Africa but had been unable to come up with the cash needed for the treatment.
He said the hospital in the township of Tembisa in Gauteng Province, in north-east South Africa, where they are currently staying, wanted £1,300 to carry out the operation.
Local Tembisan journalist Jantji Ngwenyama is publicising the story in the hope that someone will step forward with a donation to pay for the life-changing surgery.
WHAT ARE HAEMANGIOMAS?
A haemangioma is the most common type of birthmark. It is a benign tumour of the cells which normally line the blood vessels.
In these birthmarks, the cells multiply more rapidly than normal causing a collection of small blood vessels that form lumps in, or under, the skin.
About one in every ten babies has a haemangioma and they are most common in girls and premature babies.
They usually appear when the baby is about two-weeks-old and about 60 per cent develop on the head or neck.
Most do not require any treatment but those near the eye, on the lips, or obstructing the airway do require treatment. Treatment options include pain relief, beta blockers, laser treatment, steroids and surgery.