swallow-eye:A three-year-old boy is in a race against time to get treatment for a tumour that has swallowed up his entire eye – after his parents tried to cure it with black magic
Bongre Anton Peter, from Papua New Guinea, began to show signs of retinoblastoma in his right eye when he was a year old in March 2015.
He had swollen red eyes but doctors who examined him said they were just sore – and prescribed him drops and painkillers for a year.
But when both of those failed to help, his desperate parents, from the remote Eastern Highlands, instead turned to black magic to cure it.
However, the traditional tribal belief failed and it turned into a tennis-ball sized red tumour that protrudes some 10cm from his face.
Doctors have warned it is spreading to his left eye, and they have given him just weeks to live unless he receives life-saving radiotherapy.
Bongre Anton Peter, from Papua New Guinea, began to show signs of retinoblastoma in his right eye when he was a year old in March 2015
The youngster is now at the Port Moresby Hospital receiving palliative care while family try to raise funds for radiation treatment in Australia.
Family friend Michael Williams, who is helping to find treatment for Bongre, said: ‘Bongre is still suffering but he’s not as weak as he has been. He is still active, he can reach out and talk. He’s walking around his father.
‘The actual growth was misdiagnosed at first. Doctors just thought his eyes were sore and dismissed it.
The parents switched to black magic because they didn’t think there was any medical cure for the tumour. They held this belief and punished little Bongre for almost one year, treating him with eye drops and pain killers.
‘We’re desperate to raise the funds to get him to Australia and organise the paperwork and visas for the radiation treatment, which is not available in Papua New Guinea.’
Bongre’s father, Peter Anton, and mother, Senti Guna, battled to find help as soon as the tumour began growing in March 2016.
When painkillers and eye drops failed to stop the tumour growing, his desperate parents, from the remote Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, instead turned to black magic to cure it (pictured with his father, Peter Anton)
He even spent a month in Goroka General Hospital while doctors sought to see what was causing the mass that covered his eye.
After going to local witch doctors as a last resort, they tried giving their son black magic, perhaps unsurprisingly to no avail.
By this point, the youngster was in constant pain and crying as the tumour became worse.
His parents were not told that their son’s symptoms were a result of retinoblastoma until a year later, when a visiting doctor told them.
swallow-eye:By this stage, the cancer was already stage four, according to Mr Williams, who is a volunteer at the Simbu Children’s Foundation (SCF).
swallow-eye:They advised him to undergo chemotherapy, the only treatment available for cancer patients in Papua New Guinea currently. But as of yet, Bongre hasn’t received this.
swallow-eye:Instead the family are talking to numerous doctors and are looking at options of taking him to Australia or New Zealand to shrink the tumour.
The family believe radiotherapy will be able to save Bongre’s life, and are currently applying for emergency passports and medical visas.
swallow-eye:Cath Porter, another volunteer at the SCF, said they have been working on all avenues to try and get Bongre help.
She added: ‘Surgeons have been contacted in Australia and New Zealand.We have also been trying to source funding from various places. We are working as quickly as we possibly can.’
Anyone wanting to donate to Bongre’s treatment can do so here.
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