By Bilal Kuchay
A Pakistani young man with a 48lbs tumour covering his entire lower back is desperately waiting for a life-changing surgery.
Zafar Jokhio, 21, from Gadap Town in Karachi is suffering from Plexiform Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that affects the normal growth and development of cell tissue.
He also has another tumour weighing around 10lbs that has completely engulfed his left arm.
The young man lives a restricted life, mostly lying in bed because of the size of the ‘unbelievable’ growths that have left him unable to walk or stand and needs support to eat or use the toilet.
Born as an underweight child, Zafar was quite normal till the age of 11.
His father, Daad Raheem, said: “Zafar was born as an underweight baby.
“He started walking at the age of six unlike his siblings who learned to walk at the age of two.
“But once he turned 11, a mass started growing on his left arm but it was too small and we ignored it. However, it kept growing with time.
“Seven years later, a massive tumour started growing on his hips that within two years it grew to the current size. We are worried about our son because he can’t walk or stand without help.”
Raheem, who works as a daily wage labourer and earns £5, said that they took Zafar to several faith-healers and doctors but his condition kept only worsening.
“We went to several faith-healers, consulted many doctors but his tumour never stopped growing,” he added.
Earlier this month, a local social activist named Sarwar Ahmad, came to know about Zafar’s case.He visited the poverty-stricken family and was moved by Zafar’s condition.
Sarwar said: “I went to his house and saw him (Zafar) in a very bad condition. I was completely moved as he was completely bedridden, unable to stand without help.
“I spoke to his father and told him that he needs to urgently get admitted in a hospital but he said they have already taken him to several doctors in past three years but there is no treatment for this condition.”
Sarwar then showed Zafar’s family pictures of a teenager, Muhammad Essa Pallari, suffering from the same condition who less than two months ago had a 70lbs tumour removed from his leg.
“After seeing the pictures, they were convinced.”
Two weeks ago, Zafar was finally taken in an ambulance to Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital in Karachi, where doctors decided to admit him before any decision regarding surgery is taken.
Dr Naushad Sheikh said: “We recently operated a similar case of plexiform neurofibromatosis and removed around 30 kg tumour from a patient’s hips. But Zafar’s case is different from the previous one, as his skin around the hips has been badly affected by the tumour.
“We will operate the patient only with the consent of a plastic surgeon so that his skin on the hips could be restored.”