This shy teenager has been struggling her whole life with a tumour growing from her eye.
Sophia Savillaga, 16, was born with a blood-shot left retina that started to swell when she was just seven-months-old. The youngster complained that her eye hurt and slowly she lost her sight with the large red tumour getting bigger.
Sophia and mother Erlinda, a washer woman, visited a local doctor in Butuan, Philippines, four years ago – but she said he told them to ”go home because she can’t be cured”. Other medics carried out a biopsy and referred Sophia to a specialist, but when her father died, the family could not afford to pay for treatment so she has never returned.
Since then, the growth in Sophia’s left eye has grown to be bigger than a tennis ball. The shy teenager was filmed outside her wooden home in the remote village.
She said: ”My eye has always had this problem. I don’t remember ever being able to see from it.
”I am used to it it. But I am worried that it will become worse. I would like a boyfriend and family like everyone else but it is not easy. I try to hide my eyes when I am around people.”
Doctor’s have never diagnosed Sophia’s condition but it is believed to be retinoblastoma or medulloepithelioma – both cancers that begin in the eyes of children. Despite the size of the tumour it is not believed to have spread to other parts of Sophia’s body.
The youngster said that she has ”become used to the pain” and lives a normal life going to school with friends in the remote village. Footage shows her mother Erlinda speaking.