Matadi was born in the Congo with a cleft lip and a has tumor on the left side of his face. In his home country, the eight-year-old boy has been "rejected" by his community because of his appearance due to the tumor. Everything began to change, however, when Matadi met former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, whose foundation built a hospital in the Congo, and who met the child while visiting.
Mutombo told ABC7 that he felt inspired to help Matadi however he could:
"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."
Through his foundation, Mutombo sponsored the young boy's travel to the U.S., where doctors from the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation have agreed to operate on the tumor for free.
Dave Dell, a doctor with the foundation, commented to ABC7:
"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."
Mutombo hopes his continued work in the Congo will improve the health of the entire population:
"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."
Matadi's life will likely be saved by this surgery in more ways than one. The immediate danger to his health will be removed, yes, but he'll also, with some luck, be better able to find acceptance back in his home country.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Mutombo commented:
"Hopefully change the life of this young man and go back to living a normal life."
Twitter was touched by Mutombo's willingness to help Matadi.
The world is a little bit brighter because of Mutombo's work in it.
The young boy and his father will stay for free at the Ronald McDonald house as he recovers from his surgery.