Little girl's disease burden

LERATO Tom is like most other girls her age – she loves playing with friends, has a beautiful smile and has big dreams for her future. But where many of her friends can play outside without a care in the world, this bubbly seven-year-old of NU11 in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, is being held back by her swollen, heavy and painful arm.

Lerato has elephantiasis in her right arm. It is a condition characterised by the gross enlargement of an area of the body, particularly the limbs.

So while most of her friends are running around outside, Lerato – who often asks her mother, Nolubabalo Tom, 28, "when will the swelling go away?" – is forced to stay indoors watching TV or sleeping.

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