FOR six years Prosper has lived with a life-threatening tumour engulfing his face
The giant mass robbed him of his sight, left him struggling to breathe and drove his own mother to disown him, leaving just his father to care for him.
Kambou Sie, otherwise know as Prosper, from Bondoukou, Ivory Coast was 11 when the aggressive tumour first appeared on his cheek.
But, left untreated, it has grown slowly, completely swamping his facial features.
Doctors initially thought it was a non-cancerous tumour but tests when he finally reached hospital this year revealed it was a rare form of the disease.
Prosper said: “People said I was some kind of monster, saying that maybe it was something I had eaten which made me like this, but my cheeks just kept getting bigger and bigger."
Nobody could understand what was happening to Propser’s face and with no money to support him, his mother struggled to cope.
Prosper said: “When I became ill, everyone said that I would not be healed or loved, so she stopped caring about me and looked after her other children instead.
“When the disease got worse, everybody left me. My father was the only one who looked after me.”
Desperate for help, Prosper’s father contact Sister Claudine from the Liliane Foundation, a charity that specialises treating disabled children from developing countries.
The nun put Propser in contact with the Italian charity A Voice For Padre Pio, which provides social and medical support, and together they made an appeal video to receive help.
The charity flew him to Naples Pascale Hospital in Italy, to find the diagnosis he had been waiting six years for.
Prosper said: “When people see me, they say they have never seen this disease on anyone else. I couldn’t carry on living.
When I became ill, everyone said that I would not be healed or loved, so she (his mum) stopped caring about me and looked after her other children instead
“I hope to be cured, even if I have to suffer first.
“The main thing I want to come from this is to get my cheeks sorted.”
Samples of tissue were removed from Propser’s face, to establish the cause of the disease and an appropriate treatment.
Prosper was initially referred to the hospital with a tentative diagnosis of neurofibromatosis, however doctors were surprised to find an incredibly rare form of cancer – Burkitt lymphoma.
What is Burkitt lymphoma?
Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in which cancer starts in the immune cells.
It is named after British surgeon Denis Burkitt, who first identified the disease in 1956 among children in Africa.
It is common in young children who have malaria and Epstein-Barr virus, a common virus that also causes glandular fever.
It occurs when the body's immune cells start attacking itself.
Burkitt lymphoma is uncommon – about 210 people are diagnosed with this type of lymphoma every year in the UK.
The most common symptom is one or more lumps that develop quickly.
It is the fastest growing human tumour and is fatal if left untreated.
But intensive chemotherapy can improve survival rates.
As treatment is intense patients are likely to need to stay in hospital while undergoing treatment.
The disease attacks healthy cells that are working in the immune system.
In most cases like Prosper’s, it’d be fatal if left untreated.
Hematologist Dr Ferdinando Frigeri said: “The prognosis we are expecting to see is that we're dealing with a cancerous tumour.
“The most difference aspect we’ve noticed is that the rate of speed of growth is much slower than one normally associated with Burkitt lymphoma."
Prosper underwent a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stem cell replacement to reduce the tumour.
Once completed, he will have cosmetic surgery to remove the dead tissue in his face.
During his treatment Prosper received an emotional message and apology from his estranged mother.
And after months of aggressive treatment, scans showed that Propser’s facial swelling had reduced significant, even allowing his eyes to open.
He said: “At the start my face was so big, I couldn't do anything. But now I thank God.
"I have nearly finished my chemotherapy and everything has deflated. My face is much better.”
Prosper’s story is featured on Body Bizarre, along with a pair of brothers whose rare condition means they lose bone quicker than they grow, and a Brazilian boy born with no eyes.
The episode will also feature a British couple who passed on Treacher Collins Syndrome to their daughter and Heitor, the conjoined twin whose brother died after separation surgery.