A fifteen-year-old Vietnamese girl named Lai Thi Dao with 16-pound facial tumor suffers from a Schwannoma tumor that has been growing since she was 3. She is now in Miami awaiting surgery to restore her ability to eat and speak. The tumor has severely disfigured her face. Lai has had to drop out of school and feels awkward meeting people. And that kept her from ever attending school.

The schwannoma is a benign tumor of nerve fibers. It is seldom painful, despite its origin from nerves, because it is actually a proliferation of the nerve sheath or insulation. It can reach a considerable size, although usually it remains small. There is no potential for it to become cancer unless the patient has many nerve tumors, i.e. has Von Recklinghausen's disease. Even then the risk is low. Treatment is conservative surgical removal.

In 2007, Lai was hospitalized and diagnosed by some charity doctors from the United States. The doctors discovered the tumor was benign but to remove it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thus, the International Kids Fund is seeking donations to fund Lai's surgery.

Now Doctors at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center say the tumor threatens to suffocate Lai. They will remove it in a 10-hour surgery on April 29.