(CBS/WFOR) After having an 18-pound tumor removed from her face and losing family members in the Haitian earthquake, one brave teen is not giving up.
In 2005, Marlie Casseus was brought from Haiti to Miami to undergo a series of facial reconstructive surgeries that removed a massive tumor that covered most of her face.
The tumor was a result of polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, a genetic bone disease that can affect any bone in the body. Before surgery, Caseus' mouth and nasal passages were blocked, she could not speak and was only able to eat and breathe through one narrow passage, according to CBS affiliate WFOR.
Her surgeries were funded by the International Kids Fund (IKF), a charity which shuttles children in need to the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center for live-saving treatments.
Marlie's amazing story of medical intervention should have had a happy ending. The surgeries restored much of face and allowed her to breathe normally.
But the January 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti rocked her family as well. Several died. Marlie and her mother survived to find themselves homeless and in need of another life-saving surgery for Marlie.
"Tissue is obliterating the nasal passages. That means that the lesion is growing and expanding from inside the mouth and the palate is pretty much invading the nasal cavity," Dr. Jesus Gomez with UM/Jackson Hospital told WFOR.
Doctors say she will need another surgery to make room in her nasal passages so she can breathe freely.
"She has come so far and has overcome so much - we will not let her die and we are appealing to the community for help," Janelle Prieto, Director of IKFs Wonderfund, told WFOR.
If you would like to help Marlie Casseus, click here to visit her donation page or call 305-585-5888.
Reported contributed by CBS' Miami affiliate WFOR.