Standing at an impressive two metres tall, 16-year-old Yafi Wijayanto is now confident, happy and excited about the future.
“I want to be a nurse,” Yafi said.
He’s a completely different boy to the shy and frightened teenager we met last Christmas, as he prepared for surgery to remove a rare brain tumour from behind his eye.
“I can’t go to school anymore, I can’t read, I can’t do anything because I always have a headache,” Yafi said.
Yafi’s tumour had been releasing an excessive amount of growth hormone.
Without the two surgeries and radiotherapy, he would have kept growing until his body gave up. He was also rapidly losing eyesight.
The Children First Foundation flew Yafi from Indonesia to Melbourne and have been with him every step of the way.
“He’s so different,” Children First Foundation farm manager Pat Weldon said.
“Some kids will come and go and you change their lives, but him, we’ve completely swung his life around so it’s very exciting to see him go home.”
This week, he flies back to Indonesia to see his parents for the first time in a year.
“I’m happy because I miss my family,” Yafi said.
Yafi will be sent home with medication which needs to be kept cold, but in his tiny, poverty-stricken town, he doesn’t have a fridge.
No challenge is too great for the Children First Foundation. They’ve bought a solar powered fridge to send home with him.
The foundation is running their Christmas Wish appeal so they can help others just like Yafi.
“We’re totally dependent on the public and we’re totally dependent on their donations and their goodwill, and we can’t survive without it,” Mr Weldon said.
Yafi’s tumour isn’t expected to return and he should be able to lead a full and healthy life [- a wonderful outcome, and all thanks to the incredible efforts of Epworth HealthCare's Dr Michael Dally, the Children First Foundation and St Vincent's Private Hospital Melbourne].
Story courtesy of Seven News Melbourne.