Retired NBA star, Dikembe Mutombo, has changed the life of a Congolese boy with a face tumour by flying him all the way from Congo to the United States this week for a surgery.
Mutombo said he met Matadi earlier this year at a hospital he built in Congo – the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital.
“I was touched by what he’s going through as a young boy who’s 8 years old. Not going to school. The way he’s been pushed away by the society,” Mutombo said.
“His mom has to keep him in the bedroom every day because people are talking bad about him,” the 52-
The NBA Hall of Famer has so far paid for the boy’s flight from Congo and has made arrangements for doctors at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute to operate on Matadi 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,” said Dave Dell who works with the basketball star’s foundation.
“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 added.
Matadi will live with his father at the Ronald Mcdonald House free of charge during his recovery. He would then return to Congo where Mutombo is optimistic that he will be able to live a more normal life and go back to school.
Mutombo is a Congolese American retired professional basketball player who played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
He played in the NBA from 1991 until 2009, recording 11,729 points, 12,359 rebounds, and 3,289 blocks during 18 seasons spent mostly with Denver, Atlanta and Houston.
The NBA star has since become noted for his contribution towards humanitarianism and was recently given the Sager Strong Award for the humanitarian work he has done in his native Democratic Republic of Congo.
Aside from building the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, named after his mother, Mutombo has provided free breast and cervical cancer screenings for women.
He has also played instrumental roles in the fight against polio
in the Democratic Republic of Congo by leading vaccination efforts and treatments.
His team of doctors further provide knee replacement and cataract surgery.
Below is a video of the basketball legend welcoming Matadi at the airport: