Enrique Gavan pictured before and after the surgery which saw six pounds of skin tumors cut from his body (Pictures: KABC)A football fan taunted for being an ‘elephant man’ after a rare condition made him grow huge lumps on his skin has received life-changing surgery.
Enrique Gavan had six pounds of skin and tumors removed during an eight hour operation at the University of California Irvine Hospital in California earlier this month.
Speaking after the procedure, a delighted Gavan told KABC: ‘I feel like a brand new person, I have more strength to keep going.’
The grateful patient previously underwent unsuccessful surgeries in his native Paraguay to try and cure the condition, which is called neurofibromatosis.
It sees sufferers experience tumors grow on their nerve endings.
Gavan suffers from neurofibromatosis, which sees tumors grow on his nerve endings, and which saw him bullied and discriminated against in his home country of Paraguay (Picture: KABC)Gavan said he experienced ‘a lot of harassment, a lot of discrimination, a lot of bullying’ as a result of the disfigurement.
Gavan’s luck finally improved after he met Dr Cris Barrios from UC Irvine while the latter was on a medical mission on his home country.
Sweaty nudist cyclists used city’s bike share scheme for naked ride in 90F heatBarrios said the surgery Gavan needed was ‘too extensive’ to perform in Paraguay, so he was flown to California instead.
Gavan is now excited to get back into his old hobbies of playing soccer and running. He will see Barrios again for a check-up in Paraguay next month.
Explaining his motivation, Barrios said: ‘Doing the right thing, for people with nothing in return other than the fact that I’m doing some good for somebody who needs a little bit of help.’