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‘Can anyone help me?’

By STACY MOORE Monday, January 6 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Seeking a miracle: Bhagwandial 'Bobby' Persad's face is almost fully covered by overgrown tumours, a condition he has suffered since he was a boy. He ...
Seeking a miracle: Bhagwandial 'Bobby' Persad's face is almost fully covered by overgrown tumours, a condition he has suffered since he was a boy. He ...

AFTER undergoing over 22 surgical operations to remove abnormal tumours on his face, there seems to be little hope for Bhagwandial “Bobby” Persad.

Persad, 41, believes his only chance of curing a facial skin disease is to seek medical treatment abroad. Large tumours which have disfigured Persad’s face were first highlighted in 2010 as an ailment known as Plexifrom Neurofibromatosis. It is an irregular benign tumour of the peripheral nerve sheath that spreads under the skin.

Within the last four years, local doctors have performed 22 operations to remove the tumours but they keep coming back. Persad, who lives at Felicity, Chaguanas, is saddened there might be no cure for his illness. Speaking to Newsday, he said, “Surgery after surgery I have done and when I think I am going to be a normal person, the growths keep coming back. I really don’t think there is any hope left for me in Trinidad.”

He said he knew of persons with similar facial tumours who have sought medical treatment in the United States.

“These persons are now living normal lives after the surgery. I am grateful for the help of the doctors here in Trinidad. But, I really don’t think much more can be done for me here or I don’t know if there is a surgeon here, that I do not know about, who can deal with my sickness,” Persad said.

The bulging tumours are not mere overgrown flesh. Persad said he experiences a lot of pain on his face and is forced to take antibiotics. Doctors operated on Persad a year ago to remove a large tumour which almost covered his left eye, nose and mouth. But, he said, it began to grow again and Persad’s face is almost covered by a bulging ball of distorted flesh. Persad does odd jobs to make a living and lives with his mother, Samda Persad, and other siblings.

Each day he faces new embarrassment, he said, walking the streets of Chaguanas. People stare at him and others call him “Monkey Man”. He said, “I have endured this since age 12, when the growths began developing on my face.” Persad was forced to leave school and as a result, he is unable to read or write. He recalled his horrifying schooldays, saying, “Each day I would come home and cry. But I would also fight anyone who made fun of me, until I could not take it anymore. So one day I decided that I was not going back to school again.”

Persad said, however, time heals all wounds and he has grown to accept his fate in life. But he wishes for one last chance for a cure. Persad said he would like the Ministry of Health to assist him in securing doctors abroad who can help him. His prayer also is that people who read about his plight in Newsday may know of someone like him who has been healed. Newsday first reported on Persad’s condition on November 4, 2010.

Persad said, “I could be wrong, but I’m pleading and begging if there is a plastic surgeon out there in Trinidad who can help me please. I beg you to come forward and help.”

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