Former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo flew an 8-year-old African boy to the U.S. for life-saving surgery, reports KABC.
The child, Matadi, had a giant tumor growing on the left side of his face.
“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,” Mutombo said.
Matadi’s trip from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the U.S. was sponsored by the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, and doctors from the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation will perform the surgery for free.
“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,” Dave Dell, of the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation, told the station.
The Hall of Famer is also known for his humanitarian work to help people improve the lives of people living in the Congo, where he was born. His foundation opened the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, which has treated close to half a million patients.
“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 said. “Hopefully [the surgery will] change the life of this young man and [he can] go back to living a normal life.”