Altheya is a 7-year-old girl from San Mateo, Rizal. Determined to become a teacher someday, she is always eager to go to school and learn. But unlike other children, Altheya does not live a normal life.
She cannot talk and eat properly due to a rare disease called Congenital Macroglossia. Some of her classmates and playmates make fun of her illness.
Congenital Macroglossia is the abnormal enlargement of the tongue in proportion to other structures in the mouth. It usually occurs secondary to an underlying disorder that may be present from birth (congenital) or acquired (rarediseases.info.nih.gov).
Altheya’s mother, Emilie, shared how Altheya would always ask her if it is possible to remove the mass in her tongue because she gets bullied about it in school. Emilie also shared that Altheya has a low appetite, making her unusually thin.
Emilie recalled how she already noticed the mass in Altheya’s tongue when she gave birth to her. However, they did not seek medical consultation because of their meager income. Alfred, Altheya’s father, is a construction worker in Quezon City, while Emilie is a housewife.
In 2015, Emilie noticed that the mass in Altheya’s tongue started swelling, and it began to protrude from her mouth when she slipped off a tree later that year. Since then, they have been seeking help from various organizations and hospitals.
Altheya’s situation moved a CBN Asia staff and referred her to Operation Blessing Philippines. Altheya’s case was brought to Manila Doctors Hospital, one of Operation Blessing’s partner hospitals. She was assisted throughout the hospitalization procedure – from providing referrals, preparing documents, to administering medicines.
Last October 3, 2017, Altheya was provided with a Life Changing Surgery and was finally free from Congenital Macroglossia. Her appetite is now back and she is excited to go back to school. She has been scheduled to undergo speech therapy following her operation.
With all the help and moral support that Altheya and her parents are now receiving from Operation Blessing and its partners, their hope was renewed.
Help us reach more Altheyas in the country! It will take a lot of hardwork to help the vulnerable children, but with our passionate and generous hearts, anything is possible. Learn how you can help here OPERATION BLESSING PHILIPPINES