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November 23, 2012

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Hospital provides free surgery for teenager with gigantic toes

A POOR teenager born with a condition that makes his toes grow to a huge size had the first of several surgeries and a chance to achieve his dream thanks to free treatment offered by a Shanghai hospital.

Meng Weixin, 14, of the Yao ethnic minority, yesterday had surgery Shanghai Children's Hospital to treat the effects of neurofibromatosis. The disorder causes tumors to grow in the nervous system, which can cause abnormal development.

While both feet have enlarged toes, the right foot is worse. The largest toe grew to the size of an adult's fist.

Meng family, from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, were too poor to pay for surgery costing an estimated at 5,000 (US$802) to 6,000 yuan when he was a baby.

He couldn't wear shoes, so Meng went barefoot to school. His biggest dream is to put on sports shoes and play basketball like other boys.

"Without surgery, he will be unable to walk in the future," said hospital official Yang Xiaodong.

Doctors said Meng's treatment will take six months to a year and will be done in phases. Yesterday's surgery removed tumors and the enlarged part of the toe bones. Yang said in his current condition, each surgery would cost 20,000 yuan, but the hospital will cover the cost.


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