Chinese woman with enormous deformed head

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Li Hongfang

Things may be looking up for poor Li Hongfang who suffers from a rare condition which has severely disfigured her face.

Li’s tragic story begins around ten years ago when the mother-of-two first noticed an insect-bite-sized lump growing on her forehead.

“I didn’t think anything of it when I got a small swelling on my forehead, I thought it was probably just an insect bite.” Li explains.

“It didn’t even itch or ache in any way, but it also didn’t go away and in fact just got bigger and bigger.”

Li’s condition wasn’t diagnosed until four years later, by which time a total of seven tumours were beginning to distort her pretty face. The doctors told Li that she was suffering from a rare form of cancer called chordoma. The disease causes tumours to grow on the skull. When doctors diagnosed Li with the rare cancer they told her she would need to pay £60,000 for treatment, which was well beyond her means.

Shortly after being diagnosed Li’s husband then died, and her two sons left home to find work leaving her all alone in a community where many considered her an ugly monster.

“I thought things were pretty bad then and they couldn’t get worse, but a short while later my husband died and I was alone.”

“I guess that was probably the lowest point in the whole experience because I just felt like killing myself but then I thought of my boys and somewhere I found the strength to go on.”

And now things are at last beginning to change for Li, since going public about her condition there has been a huge campaign internet website Sina Weibo, which is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The overwhelming support put pressure on local council officials to pay for Li’s treatment and hopefully restore her looks.

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