help me find my voice
Suffering from a facial tumour, Jacque wants surgery to help her speak…
Jacque Rodriguez is a typical teenager; she’s always on social media and loves playing her guitar.
But the 17-year-old from San Jose, California, was born with lymphatic malformations, which means she has huge tumours in her face, tongue and chest, and consequently she can’t speak or eat.
Jacque’s condition was discovered when she was in the womb. Not expected to survive, she spent her first eight years in hospital and a specialist care home.
‘That was a difficult time, trying to spend enough time with Jacqueline and also have some normalcy for our other children,’ recalls her mother, Evelyn.
Jacque’s has come to terms with her appearance, but is undergoing treatment to reduce her tumours in the hope she can have surgery to remove the tip of her tongue. This might allow her to speak.
Under the knife
‘I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk after the therapy, but my speech therapist says it might help me to have a smaller tongue so I can move it around more,’ explains Jacque, via her iPad.
Evelyn is reluctant for Jacque to have the operation but supports her decision.
‘I hate putting my daughter under the knife,’ she says. ‘But this is something she’s been wanting to do and she says she’ll stay strong and get through it.’
Jacque, meanwhile, remains stoic about the whole thing.
‘I would still lead a happy life without surgery,’ she says. ‘Surgery doesn’t make my happiness – my caring family and friends do that.’
Music fan… Jacque wantsto speak