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Extraordinary People: My Face is Eating Me Alive

Eight years ago, when Tare was 13 years old, she had a toothache. Her mum Thandiwe told her not to worry and that it would go away. Like many of Zimbabwe’s poor, she could not afford dental treatment. Unfortunately, Tare’s toothache did not go away, but instead developed into an aggressive swelling on her upper left jaw.

Thandiwe spent three years travelling her country in search of a doctor able to stop the growth that was slowly taking over her daughter’s face, but with no success. The tumour continued to grow until it began to close Tare’s airways and push her jaw out of her mouth.

In the UK, Tare’s medical condition would require full-time hospitalisation, but with no free health care in Zimbabwe, Thandiwe and Tare were reliant on charity. Help eventually arrived from two organisations, Saving Faces and Girl Child Network Worldwide. A UK surgeon became involved, and finally Thandiwe and Tare could begin to hope.

This heartwarming film follows Thandiwe and Tare through the highs and lows of her treatment. It is a remarkable story of Tare’s courage and will to survive, her mother’s undying love as she becomes a full-time carer and the dedication of the surgeon who is willing to operate for free.

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