08/10/2014 04:07 BST | Updated 08/10/2014 07:59 BST

Girl Has Football-Sized Tumour Removed From Face Thanks To Mercy Ships

A girl with a life-threatening, football-sized tumour on her face has been saved by a 'Mercy Ship' floating hospital.

Grace, 17, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, faced eventual suffocation and had hidden herself from the outside world due to her appearance.

She said: "I was sick, I was always indoors, I was not happy any more, I worried all the time."

Story continues after slideshow... (graphic pictures)

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Grace was still able to eat and breathe but the prognosis was dire.

Her local hospital was unable to help her but her case was taken up by a Christian pastor who got her aboard a floating hospital called the Africa Mercy.

The ship is part of a group called the Mercy Ships which travel around the world performing medical procedures for those who are too poor or isolated to receive adequate treatment.

The four-hour operation involved moving the teenager's tumour and replacing her lower jaw with titanium plates, leaving her appearance immeasurably improved.

Surgeon, Dr Gary Parker, said: "When she heals six months from now she can have artificial teeth if she wants. That will help her with her chewing – appearance-wise and functionally she should be able to have a normal life."

The experience has left Grace with a burning desire to study medicine and one day perhaps work for Mercy Ships.

Grace's story will appear in a new series of Body Bizarre, which airs every Thursday at 9pm on TLC