Dikembe Mutombo is changing the life of a Congolese boy with a face tumor

Yahoo Sports

On Wednesday, retired NBA star Dikembe Mutombo met an 8-year-old boy named Matadi at Los Angeles International Airport. Mutombo bent down and gave the little boy a hug, welcoming him to Los Angeles for what’s going to be a life-changing trip.

Matadi lives in the Congo, and he has a large tumor on the left side of his face. TMZ caught up with Mutombo at the airport on Wednesday, and he talked about meeting the boy and being so affected by his story and what he’s going through. According to Mutombo, Matadi has been shunned by society due to his tumor. He’s not able to go to school, and his mother has to keep him in the bedroom to shield him from the bad comments of others.

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Mutombo told Los Angeles news station KABC that he met Matadi a few months ago at Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the Congo, which Mutombo helped build. He was moved by Matadi’s story, telling KABC that “it’s very difficult as a father to see a child who is 8 years old who is born like all of us but has not gotten opportunities.”

So Mutombo decided to help. His foundation paid for Matadi’s flight to Los Angeles, and arranged for doctors at the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation to operate and remove the tumor for free.

According to KABC Matadi and his father will be staying at the Ronald McDonald House for free as he recuperates. After, Mutombo hopes that Matadi will be able to rejoin society without the scorn of others.

“Hopefully change the life of this young man and go back to living a normal life.” 

Dikembe Mutombo is changing the life of a young boy who has been shunned by society due to the large tumor on his face. (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
Dikembe Mutombo is changing the life of a young boy who has been shunned by society due to the large tumor on his face. (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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