Degano had been living with a growing tumor in her neck that should ideally have been removed much earlier. She is a victim of a benign tumor known as a teratoma. Aster's tumor had grown to six pounds, displacing her jawbone and carotid artery.
In the United States, this would've been diagnosed, probably about 12 years ago and it would've been taken care of at that time," said Dr. Milton Waner, of Lenox Hill Hospital.
Aster and her family could not dream of anything like this as they live in a remote village in Southern Ethiopia, where treatment for such conditions is unknown. Aster was also labeled as "evil" in the place where she lived.
"That was one of the reasons we didn't send her to school, because they were making fun of her, bullying her," said Astor's father. She cannot believe that she is completely cured and has also undergone reconstructive surgery at the Cohen Children's Medical Center.
Aster turned lucky after she met an anesthesiologist visiting Ethiopia who put in his best effort for three years to bring her to United States for the surgery. The surgery was also facilitated by the "Little Baby Face Foundation" which is anon-profit group.
"Now I know that I am beautiful and I am healed, and I like the way I am now," Aster Degano said.