Category: Weird Articles
Published on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
The bizarre appearance of a toddler from China will make anyone do a double take. The Chinese boy at first appears to be wearing a mask covering half of his face, but on closer inspection, it turns out to be a rare facial deformity that causes the double-face illusion.
The tragic story of Huikang has gripped the hearts of millions all over the world. The boy was born on March 4 in 2009 in an impoverished village to a family of farmers from Zhongsha town in Xiangtan city, according to a previous report by Changsha Evening News.
When Huikang was born, the doctors were initially reluctant to show the baby boy to the excited mother, Yi Lianxi. That excitement quickly dissolved to horror and sorrow when the doctors brought the baby to her.
“My whole body felt numb,” Lianxi told a reporter from Changsha Evening News. “I saw the child was crying, and I cried too. I felt my heart had broken. Why would this happen to me.”
The child suffered from a severe transverse facial cleft, which means there are two huge gaps appearing from both sides of his mouth leading towards his ears. Due to the deformation, Huikang seems to have two overlapping faces. The media callously dubbed him the 'mask boy', a nickname he has been cursed to live with for the past several years.
Lianxi, who was 23 years old at the time of his birth, was not only shattered by her son's birth defect, but also puzzled.
The grief-stricken mother said that she had undergone three ultrasound scans and one Doppler ultrasound scan during her pregnancy. No deformation had been detected.
Huikang's grandmother even said that a lot of the family's acquaintances advised they should throw away the child, but she couldn't fathom that cold-hearted suggestion and sadly said “how could we do that”.
Huikang's story was heavily reported in 2010 when his mother took her to the No. 163 Military Hospital in Changsha for treatment. The press and public expressed an outpouring of sympathy towards Huikang and his family, who struggled with expensive medical bills.
Wang Duquan, a doctor from the hospital, told a reporter at the time that Huikang's condition was extremely rare and very serious.
Dr Wang said: “Not only his soft tissues were damaged, broken and moved, his temporal bone, cheekbones, sphenoid bone and upper jaw were all damaged.”
With the donations from the public, the child's family were able to afford surgical operations for Huikang in 2010 which reportedly cost some 400,000 yuan ($82,500). On May 19 and September 1, Huikang underwent two operations at the No. 163 Military Hospital.
Huikang post op
Dr Duquan, who led the treatment, said in an TV interview with Hunan Public Channel that both operation were successful. However, he added that Huikang would need to wait for about 10 years to see if his facial bones would grow in a normal way.
TV footage at the time showed that Huikang had already looked better after the first operation.
In the past seven years, Huikang's story and pictures have been widely shared by different Chinese media. Most people were shocked by Huikang's condition and were looking for ways to help the family.
Last month, reports on Huikang's stories appeared again on Chinese-language news websites such as ET Today, after Huikang's pictures had been shared on social media and online forums. Unfortunately, there have been no further reports on how little Huikang is coping.
Reporter Liu Jun, who wrote the story for Changsha Evening News some seven years ago said that he had not contacted Huikang and his family since he visited the boy in the hospital in 2010. As a result, he does not know whether or not the boy is still suffering from the facial deformation.
Wherever Huikang is, we hope that he is happy and well.