This mother-of-three has a tumour bigger than a watermelon on her chin – which started as a toothache when she was just thirteen.
Belinda Austria, 42, began suffering with pain in her lower jaw when she was a teenager but thought it was just problems with new teeth growing.
She finally went to the doctors when she was 19 after her gums had swollen. But medics in the Pangasinan region of the Philippines dismissed the growth of an access.
Belinda had the ”unbearable” growth removed in 1997 several months after giving birth to her first child, but several years later and after having her third child, it returned – rapidly growing and the family unable to afford treatment.
The housewife now has to haul the heavy tumour around with her and cover her face with a scarf every time she leaves the home to prevent people from stopping and staring.
She said: ”I’ve been suffering with this tumour for so long, but I’m not able to go back to the hospital because we have no money.
”I wish I could go back to work, but I easily get tired. This tumour is heavy aside from being painful.
”After having the tumour, my life became limited, I can’t do what I want. A lot of people stare at me when I go outside.
”Sometimes I’ll get laughed at because of my appearance so I just I hide it with a scarf. I just let them so I can continue with my life.”
Belinda and her husband Carlos, a farm worker, sold their possessions and paid the equivalent of 2,000USD for the operation in 1997.
Now with the husband earning only around 5USD a day collecting crops, the family are unable to afford to send Belinda for more treatment, and the country’s government does not cover medical costs.
Belinda and her children Jonalyn, 22, Joanne, 20 and Julius, 11, are scraping together what they can, but fear that the growth will kill her before they have enough to pay the bill, believed to be at least 3000USD.
Joanne said: “It all started with a toothache. My mother’s molar was swollen affecting half of her face, which was removed back in 1997 when it became unbearable. But it came back in 2003 and it’s worse than before.
”We’ll do everything we can to keep saving to help my mother, even if we have to work every hour of the day.”
Belinda added: ”My dream is to get treated so I can help my husband earn a living. I want to send my children to school. I hope to get well soon for my family.”