Boy, 9, with dangerous facial tumor finally got life-saving treatment - thanks to a Jewish doctor, a Christian missionary, and a Muslim family

December 7, 2018  18:24

A nine-year-old Haitian boy has received treatment for a life-threatening tumor thanks to a Christian missionary, a Jewish doctor and a Muslim family. 

For the past four years, John Olivier - better known as 'Little John' - had been unable to eat, talk or smile due to a growing benign tumor on his jawline.

The mass had made his breathing so difficult that doctors in his home country told his father he would die within a year because the tumor was suffocating him.

But that all changed after Barclay Stuart, a missionary with Calvary Chapel Brighton church in Colorado, met Little John and learned his story.

Stuart told about the series of 'miracles' that led to Little John's treatment and how - after so many years - he is finally smiling again.

Stuart first met Little John two years ago when he visited Haiti for a missionary trip, 

'He was playing with other kids,' Stuart told

'I see a huge mass and I saw how totally deformed his jaw was, teeth in the middle of the mouth. My heart was just broken.'

Stuart said he was determined to help Little John but that it was pushed to the back of his mind until he visited again in mid-2017.

Little John's father told Stuart that the boy only had one year to live before the tumor suffocated him.

'I thought: "How selfish, self-absorbed of me that I made no effort to help him",' he said.

'This time, I cried out to God: "I wanna see the boy healed. I'll do whatever you want do".' 

While at the Port-au-Prince airport waiting for his flight home, Stuart put his bag down to reserve a table and went to order food at a counter.

He watched as a group of strangers came in, couldn't find a place to sit down and moved his bag to take the table.  

'I went to go give them a piece of my mind but as I approached them with my tray, I decided to keep my mouth shut,' Stuart said.

Instead, a conversation struck up between Stuart and the group and he learned they were medical missionaries.

'[One guy] told me they do OBGYN exams, they have oral surgeons, and as soon as I heard oral surgeon, I perked up,' he said.

'I said: "We have a boy that needs oral surgery and he needs a miracle, and he said well we do miracles."'

The group called over Dr Stuart Lieblich, an oral surgeon of Avon Oral Maxillofacial Surgery in Connecticut.

After viewing the pictures of Little John, Dr Lieblich and his anesthesiologist agreed to do the surgery for free.

Once the hospital's board approved the surgery one to two months later, Stuart and his church got to work putting together flyers and setting up a fundraiser.

'I passed out flyers in Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, anywhere I could,' Stuart said.

In the end, the church raised $10,000. Additionally, a Denver-area company anonymously donated surgical devices for the procedure.

The road to get Little John to the US didn't come without its hiccups. There was the Haitian doctor that wouldn't sign off on the boy's surgery until his hospital got a CAT scan machine and the embassy that wouldn't approve his visa.  

Finally, in September, everything was approved. 

Little John's father, 41-year-old Jean Luckner Olivier, told CBS4 Denver that he had been trying since 2013 to find a solution for his son with no success. 

'Without God, we couldn't really do it,' Olivier said through his interpreter Luccone Lucce. 

'[Little John] feels he is going to have a better life in the future. He wasn't worried.' 

Stuart said the family flew to Connecticut on November 17 and Little John's surgery was scheduled for November 21.

The church had budgeted for a hotel until they learned a Muslim family from Albania wanted to help and offered to host Little John and his father.

Adriatik 'Tiko' Adviaj, his wife Marjana, and their son Enea hosted the Oliviers and Stuart for 12 days.  

'The Adviaj family embraced us and endured the chaotic intrusion without the slightest hint of inconvenience to them though we knew better,' Stuart said.  

'They cared for Little John as if he was their own.' 

Dr Lieblich told Fox News that the surgery consisted of the team removing two-thirds of Little John's lower jaw.

Then, they reconstructed the jaw using a bone from his hip. When he gets older, the team plans on adding dental implants.

Little John and his father flew with Stuart to Colorado for recovery and to meet the people of Calvary church who started the fundraiser.

Stuart told that Little John is slowly but surely recovering.

'He takes about five steps forward and one step backward,' he said.

Stuart said, this Sunday, Olivier will be speaking to the congregation and will end the service with a traditional Christian Creole song.

Olivier told CBS4 that even though he and his son will have to return to Haiti, he feels he has a new American family.  

'For me, it was a big deal. But, for God, it was nothing,' Olivier said. 'Because, God is great, and can do all things.'


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