Life-changing surgery for Tongan teenager thanks to the generosity of Cabrini

Date: 15/08/2018


A teenager from Tonga has had life-changing surgery thanks to surgeon Mr William Blake and his team at Cabrini Malvern.

Silia Tupou’ila had a large tumour growing on her jaw, which had affected her health and left her feeling self-conscious and excluded from her community in Tonga.

Mr Blake and the Cabrini perioperative team volunteered their time to remove the tumour from the 19-year-old’s jaw during a risky, eight-hour surgical operation.

He said that without surgery Ms Tupou’ila’s jaw would break, causing significant damage to her face and leaving her in excruciating pain.

“We removed that section of the jaw that’s got a large benign tumour in it and replaced that part of the jaw with a bone from her leg,” said Mr Blake.

Scrub nurse Jenny Goodley, who was part of the perioperative team of volunteers, said it was nice to be able to give something back.

“It makes you feel good to know that you can be involved in making such a difference to people’s lives,” Ms Goodley said.

“This is a 19-year-old woman who has her whole life ahead of her. She will now have a much greater quality of life and a much brighter future than she would have had without this surgery.”

“It is nice to know that Cabrini encourages and supports its staff to take part in these endeavours. It is so good to be able to help people who would otherwise be living in pain.”

Ms Tupou’ila was brought to Australia with the help of the Children First Foundation, where she was cared for before and after her surgery at Cabrini.

Children First Foundation Assistant Manager Melanie Likos said it had been a dramatic but life-changing experience for the teenager.

“This is her first time out of Tonga, coming to Australia, it’s her first time being in a city and in a big hospital,” Ms Likos said.

Ms Tupou’ila has recovered well and is looking forward to being re-united with friends and family in Tonga.

“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling better,” Ms Tupou’ila said.

“I’m in a new life now.”

Ms Tupou’ila said the surgery had given her the confidence to apply for jobs when she returned to her home country.

“When I’m getting back to Tonga, I’m going back to singing and looking forward to my jobs.”


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