Melyssa Delgado Braga of Sao Paula, Brazil was diagnosed with a rare facial tumor. One that was so big that it was giving her breathing problems. The 3-year-old’s parents took to social media pleading for help and she and the family received the help they needed and flew to a hospital in Lousiana where they extracted the ginormous tumor from her sweet little face.
Dr. Celso Palmeieri Jr., assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center heard of Melyssa’s case while reading a post from a Brazilian news site. The child’s parents were looking for help to get their daughter to the U.S. so she could receive treatment.
“I was reading more about her story, I realized our department could probably help her, and particularly Dr. Ghali and his department,” says Palmieri to CNN. “I’ve seen him helping people so many times, so I took a screenshot of the child, and I texted it to him.”
Dr. Ghali, chairman of LSU Health reached out to Shreveport’s Willis-Knighton Health System, a nonprofit healthcare organization with a history of hosting international patients and rare surgeries. The organization provided the family with housing and took care of the cost of the hospital stay.
Melyssa was diagnosed with a myxoma, a very rare and aggressive tumor. “This is typically a benign tumor, non-cancerous, but it’s very locally aggressive,” explains Dr. Ghali. “This tumor has pretty much eaten away her entire jaw from one side to the other and has displaced her tongue, [She’s] really unable to eat pretty well. She was on her way to be a pretty malnourished child.”