Teen bullied for rugby ball-sized tumour on her neck has surgery to remove it

A teenage girl can look forward to a normal life after surgeons removed a potentially fatal tumour from her neck.

Surbhi Ben, 15, endured years of cruel taunts and staring because of the rugby ball-sized tumour that grew from her neck onto her chest.

She was diagnosed with a desmoid tumour, a soft-tissue growth that, if left alone, would cause considerable damage to the surrounding structures and possible death.

But Surbhi, from Gujrat, India, was able to have the tumour removed after kind-hearted wellwishers donated almost £28,000 for the dangerous, but life-changing operation.

A dedicated medical team of 21 doctors and surgeons worked tirelessly for three days to remove the growth.

Surbhi underwent two months of gruelling radiotherapy before the surgeons performed the delicate operation and extensive reconstructive surgery.

Since the surgeries, Surbhi’s wounds have recovered and she is leading a normal teenage life.

Surbhi’s mum Rekha said: ‘We are seeing a new, beautiful, bubbly and bold, Surbhi, thanks to all my brothers and sisters who contributed to her life-changing treatment.

‘Your kind gesture towards a complete stranger has reinstated my faith in humanity.

‘She is now leading a normal life, freely riding her bicycle, playing with friends in the neighbourhood and doing her studies, without being subjected to humiliating remarks from onlookers.’

Dr. Chetan Ginigeri from the Aster Hospital said: ‘It was a challenging operation. The outcome was uncertain. We took all the necessary precautions, due to the critical nature of Surbhi’s case.

‘Surbhi had initially undergone intervention radiology that entailed feeding vessel embolisation under general anaesthetic.

‘The team of doctors then carried out surgical debunking of the tumour. Following these procedures, a skin graft was taken for reconstruction of the area affected.’

The treatment was made possible by Bangalore-based international news agency Newslions Media which covered the story and raised 5,100,000 rupees (£27,785) after it set up a crowdfunding campaign.

Surbhi’s father Purshottam Samatbhai, a farmer, said, ‘I wouldn’t have been able to afford such costly treatment. I don’t know how to thank the people who pitched in for her treatment.

‘They were a God-send. We will always remain indebted to them. They haven’t just helped Surbhi undergo surgery, they have gifted her a new life.’

Dr Chetan Ginigeri added: ‘At the time of discharge, Surbhi was able to walk and do her routine activities. The wound had completely healed.

‘However, she has a tracheostomy tube in her windpipe for airway protection. She can eat and drink safely. She is undergoing voice training and, as soon as the vocal cords recover, her tube will be taken out and she will be back to normal.

‘It is likely to take around three months. We have advised her to visit us after three months for evaluation.

‘She will also require an MRI scan of the neck to check if there is any recurrence of the tumour. In which case she will require chemotherapy.’.

Surbhi, who is now at home and is due back in hospital next month for a final operation on her vocal cords.

Anyone who wants to contribute to ongoing medical care for Surbhi can donate online.

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