Karina Bondarchuk is a 14-year-old girl just like any other, except for one thing: A rare condition that causes her tongue to swell.
She suffers from a condition called congenital lymphangioma. At times, her tongue has grown to the point that she couldn't keep it in her mouth.
"It's a benign kind of tumor that grows and grows and grows like a big ball of spaghetti," Dr. Jeffrey Fearon said. "Were she to get a certain type of infection, a bacterial infection, it could block her airway and she could die from that."
Karina has undergone countless surgeries and medical procedures to the point that doctors in her home country of Ukraine could no longer help her.
"She had difficulty speaking and eating," friend Oksana Miller said. "Her food had to be mashed almost like liquid."
But on a recent trip to Dallas, it seems as if she has finally found one who can really help her in Fearon, a craniofacial surgeon. He deals exclusively with children and birth defects and he's the latest addition to the Karina Project.
"We decided this was a huge opportunity to change her life," Miller said. "To change something for her so she could feel normal and be normal."
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Life Central Church pastor Paul Cook said the church officially welcomed Karina in early September and is helping fund her medical care.
"When I saw her, something in my spirit said, 'You need to do something about that,'" he said.
After all the procedures and pain, Fearon recently gave Karina great news.
"It's def possible to make her tongue smaller," he said.