Kiko’s story

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“I am doing great! I feel so much better – I finally feel like me. I am doing what I always dreamt of. And my family say I look very handsome!”

This is what Kiko, 24, from Indonesia, had to say when he recently messaged us.

Kiko had a rare benign tumour in his pituitary gland, resulting in excess growth hormones surging into his already tall frame. Kiko would often joke that he needed new shoes every few weeks!

Joking aside, this enormous tumour was causing major stress to Kiko’s organs and severe abnormality in his face, particularly with his lower jaw snowballing ahead of his upper jaw. If left untreated, it would have most likely resulted in blindness, and inevitably, heart failure.

Kiko was 20 when he first arrived at Children First Foundation in 2016. Thanks to St Vincent’s Private Hospital and neurosurgeon, Mr Peter McNeill, Kiko underwent surgery to remove the tumour in his pituitary gland. This initial treatment put a stop to the surge in his growth and the stress to his organs, however, the misalignment in his jaw caused Kiko much discomfort.

Kiko returned to us in 2018 to undergo maxillofacial surgery at Epworth Richmond. Led by oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Mr Andrew Heggie, the procedure brought forward Kiko’s cheeks and eye sockets, and his cheekbones in line with his upper jaw. His transformation was profound!

Kiko spent months at our Retreat in Kilmore recovering from the surgeries. Once he was mobile, you’d find him on The basketball court, shooting hoops – he simply loved playing basketball. He also loved being a big brother to the younger children. If he wasn’t on the court, he was always reading, playing and joking about with the other kids.

Kiko spent months at our Retreat in Kilmore recovering from the surgeries. Once he was mobile, you’d find him on The basketball court, shooting hoops – he simply loved playing basketball. He also loved being a big brother to the younger children. If he wasn’t on the court, he was always reading, playing and joking about with the other kids.

“Before the surgeries and treatments, I always felt different from everyone else. It was a hard time for me. The surgeries changed my life. Thank you to Children First Foundation, staff, volunteers, donors, my doctors and the hospitals.”

Things are looking very rosy for Kiko these days – and that doesn’t just stop at his physical appearance. With his newfound confidence, Kiko now works as a school basketball coach – achieving one of his biggest life goals.

“All of my friends in Australia know how much I dreamed of being a basketball coach. With your help, I got my health back, and now my dreams are coming true. Thank you so much!”

You can help more young people like Kiko, access surgery and treatment that will transform their lives, by donating today.

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