A brave two-year-old girl who is being slowly suffocated by her enormous tongue faces a life or death battle over Christmas.
Little Zhyrille Cruz, who suffers from a rare tumour, is likely to die if she does not undergo surgery to treat her condition.
The toddler was born with a noticeably swollen mouth.
And shortly after, she diagnosed with lymphangioma- an uncommon disease which causes benign growths in the lymph vessels.
Her poverty-stricken parents claim doctors initially told them their daughter’s condition would not develop into anything dangerous.
But they watched in despair as the lymphangioma slowly worsened, leaving Zhyrille with a massive tongue and struggling to breathe.
The toddler’s mum Mary Cruz, 22, took her to the local government ‘sweepstakes office’, the equivalent of National Lottery funding in the UK.
There, the little girl, who is believed to be from the Philippines, received funding for doctors to fit a tube into her neck for her to breathe.
Zhyrille is now receiving free oral chemotherapy medicine at home in a desperate bid to reduce the size of her benign tumour.
If the tumour is reduced, doctors will put her forward for surgery which her mum and dad, Gerry Cruz, 28, will have to try to fund themselves.
Heartbreakingly, the condition could be treated relatively easily with an operation in Britain.
But without surgery, it is likely that Zhyrille will become one of the rare cases where lymphangioma ends up being fatal.
She and her family now face an agonising wait over the Christmas period.
But despite the situation, the adorable toddler came across like any other little girl when she was photographed at her home last Thursday.
Lymphangioma is a rare disease of the lymphatic system which causes legions ranging in size from microscopic to large.
It is mostly found in young children, mainly around the neck.
In Zhyrille’s case, lymphangioma started while she was in the womb. It was allegedly missed by doctors at her birth, but was diagnosed shortly after.
The youngster’s parents live with family and earn around $150 (about £112) a month through Gerry’s wage as a contractor.
They were unable to afford any proper treatment for their daughter.
Started while she was in the womb
However, she finally began receiving some medical attention earlier this year from a local charity which, along with the government, helped to fund the tube for her breathing.
The family also collected three months’ worth of chemotherapy medication in October and are awaiting tests in January to see if it has been effective.
After this, doctors will decide whether Zhyrille can have surgery