Former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo helping special boy from Congo get needed surgery

The 7'2" former center for the Atlanta Hawks is helping a boy get the operation he needs for a facial deformity

Dikembe Mutombo
Retired NBA player Dikembe Mutombo at the 2013 Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and PHILANTHROPIC Hip Hop Inaugural Ball. (Photo: Renita Young)

An 8-year old boy from the Congo is in need of life-saving surgery and he’s getting it thanks to a former Atlanta Hawks player.

Retired NBA star Dikembe Mutombo helped bring a boy known simply as Matadi to the United States to seek the help of specialists because of a tumor growing on the left side of his face.

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“Very difficult as a father to see a child who is eight years old who is born like all of us but has not gotten opportunities,” Mutombo said.

Mutombo’s foundation sponsored Matadi’s trip to the United States and doctors at the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation are performing the surgery for free, Los Angeles station KABC-TV reports.

“He is suffering from a life-threatening illness and we are here to help this little boy and Mr. Mutombo’s foundation save this little boy’s life,” said Dave Dell, of the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation.

Mutombo’s foundation operates a hospital in his home country, which has reportedly served more than half a million women and children.

“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,” the superstar athlete said.

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Matadi’s community shunned him because of his deformities but Mutombo hopes this facial reconstruction will “change the life of this young man and go back to living a normal life,” he said.

The boy will stay with his father at the Ronald McDonald house, free of charge, while he recovers from the surgery.