Didier Montalvo, known as Turtle Boy because of a large mole on his torso that resembles a turtle shell, is resuming a normal life after the removal of the 11-pound mole.
The 6-year-old boy suffered from Congenital Melanocytic Nevus since he was born in a small Colombian village where drug trafficking and kidnapping are major concerns.
The mole has ostracized him and his family from the rest of the village who fear Didier’s condition, making him unable to attend school or be baptized. Superstitious village locals believe Didier’s mole was caused by his single mother Luz glancing at a solar eclipse while bearing him.
“I want to grow up,” Didier said. “But the mole won’t let me.” CMN affects one out of 20,000 newborn babies, although the size of Didier’s growth has never been treated.
Neil Bulstrode, UK’s leading plastic surgeon from Great Ormond Street Hospital, flew to Bogotá with a team to surgically remove the mole from Didier’s body with a series of skin grafts at no charge to his mother. Fortunately, the mole was not malignant.
“Obviously he has had to go through a number of painful operations but we feel it was worth it,” Bulstrode said. “It’s great to see the photos of how Didier is getting on now. I’m really happy with how things have healed.”
He was featured on National Geographic Sunday night in a video that revealed Didier seeing himself for the first time after the mole’s removal.
Didier was speechless while looking at his body in the mirror. The boy is now attending school and his mother is now able to have him baptized.