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A brave two-year-old girl who is being slowly suffocated by her enormous tongue faces a life or death battle over Christmas .
Little Zhyrille Cruz, who suffers from a rare tumour, is likely to die if she does not undergo surgery to treat her condition.
The toddler was born with a noticeably swollen mouth.
And shortly after, she diagnosed with lymphangioma- an uncommon disease which causes benign growths in the lymph vessels.
Her poverty-stricken parents claim doctors initially told them their daughter’s condition would not develop into anything dangerous.
But they watched in despair as the lymphangioma slowly worsened, leaving Zhyrille with a massive tongue and struggling to breathe.
The toddler’s mum Mary Cruz, 22, took her to the local government ‘sweepstakes office’, the equivalent of National Lottery funding in the UK.
There, the little girl, who is believed to be from the Philippines, received funding for doctors to fit a tube into her neck for her to breathe.
Zhyrille is now receiving free oral chemotherapy medicine at home in a desperate bid to reduce the size of her benign tumour.
If the tumour is reduced, doctors will put her forward for surgery which her mum and dad, Gerry Cruz, 28, will have to try to fund themselves.
Heartbreakingly, the condition could be treated relatively easily with an operation in Britain.
But without surgery, it is likely that Zhyrille will become one of the rare cases where lymphangioma ends up being fatal.
She and her family now face an agonising wait over the Christmas period.
But despite the situation, the adorable toddler came across like any other little girl when she was photographed at her home last Thursday.
Mum Mary said: “Zhyrille is the light in our hearts. We don’t know what the future holds, but we will make this the best Christmas for her.
“Zhyrille is the best gift we could have. Her laughter makes everyone smile. I pray every day she will grow up to be a bright and beautiful young girl.
(Image: Viral Press)
“I wish for nothing but to see a smile on her lovely face every single second. I want to see her grow up and achieve her goals. That is our dream.”
Lymphangioma is a rare disease of the lymphatic system which causes legions ranging in size from microscopic to large.
It is mostly found in young children, mainly around the neck.
In Zhyrille’s case, lymphangioma started while she was in the womb. It was allegedly missed by doctors at her birth, but was diagnosed shortly after.
The youngster’s parents live with family and earn around $150 (about £112) a month through Gerry’s wage as a contractor.
They were unable to afford any proper treatment for their daughter.
However, she finally began receiving some medical attention earlier this year from a local charity which, along with the government, helped to fund the tube for her breathing.
The family also collected three months’ worth of chemotherapy medication in October and are awaiting tests in January to see if it has been effective.
After this, doctors will decide whether Zhyrille can have surgery.
Mary said: “We will do what we can.
“We work and we save as much as possible for our daughter. We pray that the medicine will work and she can have an operation.
“She takes medicines twice a day. A tablet costs 300 pesos (£4).
“We still don’t have her next batch of medicines because the office only release medicines on schedule.
“The doctors have not yet given us an estimated amount for the surgery because she’s still under observation whether she can take the surgery or not although we are expecting it to be really expensive.”
Fatalities from lymphangioma – which is not cancerous – are virtually unheard of in developed countries, where medics can treat the condition early with a simple operation.
However, in undeveloped countries, the relatively high cost of doctors and surgery means some patients can go their entire lifetime without treatment before the condition eventually kills them.
Spain: Thousands march against spain’s ruling on separatist leaders
Three other defendants, who were also on trial for their involvement in the October 2017 referendum held in spite of a ban and a short-lived independence declaration, were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison.
All defendants were acquitted of the gravest charge, rebellion, but leading separatists were quick to condemn the court’s decision and the jailed men sent out messages of defiance, urging people to take to the streets.
“This sentence is an attack on democracy and the rights of all citizens,” the head of the regional parliament Roger Torrent said. “Today we are all convicted, not just 12 people.”
Former head of Catalonia’s regional government, Carles Puigdemont, said the prison sentences were an “atrocity.”
In Barcelona, three main streets were blocked by protesters holding signs calling for “Freedom for political prisoners” and a crowd chanted “We’ll do it again” – a slogan used by separatist supporters who want to hold another referendum.
Protesters blocked train and metro access to the Barcelona airport and others temporarily halted traffic on the A2 highway, as well as on several regional roads across Catalonia, officials at the road traffic agency said.
The regional train network was interrupted in the separatist stronghold of Girona by people standing on the tracks, wrapped in pro-independence flags.
The Catalan independence drive attracted worldwide attention and triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades and unnerved financial markets.
The ruling and its fallout is likely to color a national election on Nov. 10, Spain’s fourth in four years, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement..
The jailed separatists said via social media that they would carry on their fight.
“Nine years in prison won’t end my optimism. Catalonia will be independent if we persist. Let us demonstrate without fear, let us move forward determinedly from non-violence to freedom,” said Jordi Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in jail. Sanchez was the leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots movement.
Protests for Catalonia’s independence have been largely peaceful over the past years but police sources have said authorities are prepared for any violence.
The regional head of Catalonia, separatist Quim Torra, called for an amnesty for all 12 leaders and said he would seek an urgent meeting with Spain’s King Felipe VI and acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. However, Torra stopped short of repeating past weeks’ calls for civil disobedience.
Sanchez was quick to rebuff the demand for an amnesty, saying the sentences must be carried out.
“Today’s decision confirms the defeat of a movement that failed to gain internal support and international recognition,” he said in a televised address to the nation. He also called for dialogue, saying now was time for a new chapter over the Catalan issue.
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