6-year-old Didier Montalvo had a rare birthmark that grew over his entire back. Nicknamed the “turtle boy” because of the shell-like growth, Didier finally received the surgery to remove the large mole from his back.
With this rare and growing defect, Didier’s young life was severely affected by the growth. It covered half of his body and caused a bit of painful itchiness across his body. To top it off, Didier was constantly made fun of by his friends, and his family has been shunned by the villagers in his rural home in Colombia.
With no money to have the life-altering surgery, Didier and his family thought that he would have to live his life as the “Turtle Boy”. Luckily for them, surgeon Neil Bulstrode heard about the boy’s story. “When I saw the pictures of Didier, one of my first feelings was that if we could remove it, we would significantly improve his quality of life,” the doctor recalled.
While Bulstrode has operated on children with a similar genetic disease, he has never seen a case of this magnitude. “Didier’s CMN was the worst case I had ever seen due to the size and bulk of the lesion,” he explained.“Effectively three quarters of the circumference of his body was affected.”
Now, with the help of the doctor, Didier received the surgery and his “shell” (and nickname) has successfully been removed.