Two-year-old Zhyrille Cruz is one brave little girl.
The toddler is slowly being suffocated because of her huge tongue. She may even die because her family cannot afford her life-saving surgery.
Zhyrille, from Manila in the Philippines, suffers from lymphangioma – a collection of life-threatening cysts on her tongue.
She is being kept alive by a breathing tube and is currently undergoing chemotherapy funded for by the government.
But her parents have been told that if the tumor shrinks, they will somehow have to come up with the money for her operation themselves.
What makes Zhyrille’s story even more heartbreaking, is that her suffering could come to an end if she lived in the Western world.
In undeveloped countries, poverty means some patients go their entire lifetime without treatment.
The straightforward procedure then sadly kills them.
Zhyrille’s parents Mary, 22, and Gerry, 28, will find out if their daughter needs surgery in January.
Mrs Cruz, a housewife, said: ‘Zhyrille is the light in our hearts. We don’t know what the future holds, but we will make this the best Christmas for her.’
‘Zhyrille is the best gift we could have. Her laughter makes everyone smile. I pray every day she will grow up to be a bright and beautiful young girl.’
‘I wish for nothing but to see a smile on her lovely face every single second. I want to see her grow up and achieve her goals. That is our dream.’
Zhyrille’s ordeal began when she was born after her parents noticed she had a swollen mouth.
Doctors told them they had nothing to worry about, but later diagnosed lymphangioma.
Her parents were powerless to stop it as the mass slowly worsened.
Their baby girl was left with a huge tongue which stopping her from breathing.
Zhyrille’s parents live with family, her father is a contractor and earns around $150 a month.
They finally began receiving some medical attention earlier this year from a local charity.
Her family also collected three months worth of oral chemotherapy medication in October.
They are waiting for tests in January to see if it has been effective.
Doctors will then decide whether she can have surgery.
Mrs Cruz said: ‘We will do what we can. We work and we save as much as possible for our daughter. We pray that the medicine will work and she can have an operation.
‘She takes medicines twice a day. A tablet costs 300 pesos (£4.50/$6).’
‘We still don’t have her next batch of medicines because the office only release medicines on schedule, but we can’t buy them because it would us more than 50,000 pesos (£741/$1,000) for the oral chemo.’
‘The doctors have not yet given us an estimated amount for the surgery because she’s still under observation whether she can take the surgery or not although we are expecting it to be really expensive.’