Retired NBA star Dikembe Mutombo is all about giving back to his native land and that does not exclude being a life saver. This past week, the famed shot blocker flew out an 8-year-old boy from the Congo for a life-saving surgery and now the young fighter is on the operating table and will soon be tumor free, TMZ reports.
The young boy, Matadi underwent surgery on Sunday morning (Dec. 16) at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. The operation is expected to last around 6 hours and is being led by Dr. Ryan Osborne from Cedars Sinai Medical Center who volunteered to conduct the surgery after gaining inspiration from the Hall of Famer’s humanitarian effort.
On Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 13), Mutombo waited at the international terminal in LAX for Matadi who is suffering from a tumor growing on the left side of his face. His foundation, the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation sponsored Matadi’s trip to the United States and luckily, the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation will perform the life-redeeming for free.
“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,” said Mutombo. “Right now, we want to improve the living condition of the people in Congo where the mortality rate is 45 for men and 47 for women.”
Mutombo met young Matadi earlier this year in the Congo after he received a cleft repair at one of the hospitals built by his charity, which has spent that last 21 years recovering the conditions of his native land, the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the time of his visit, there were no specialists that were able to tackle Matadi’s tumor. In a video captured by TMZ, the two are seen embracing one another as they link up for the remedial moment.
“I was touched by what he’s going through as a young boy who’s 8 years old. Not going to school. The way he’s been pushed away by the society,” Mutombo told TMZ.
“His mom has to keep him in the bedroom every day because people are talking bad about him,” he continued.
Matadi was accompanied to the United States by his father, who will stay with him at the Ronald McDonald house after the operation, also an extended courtesy from the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation.
“Hopefully change the life of this young man and go back to living a normal life,” said Mutombo.
According to Dikembe, Matadi will most likely stay in the U.S. after the operation for recovery for about 3 to 6 months.