I was surfing the Internet the other night when I came across this story in Pos Kupang - my old home town newspaper that was published in Kupang, Timor, Indonesia. The plight of Lukas that has suffered for the past 12 years and his family that even could not afford the transportation fee to the hospital really struck me. I then contacted the editor and the reporter of Pos Kupang, translated the story, and posted the translation to some of the mailing lists I subscribe. Someone then emailed me the phone number of people that participated in this free medical care mission, and I was able to talk to Dr. Maria Tan of Singapore. I then decided to set up this site to disseminate Lukas' story. I hope with the support of this virtual community, we may be able to work with the doctors to help this poor child with a proper medical care. You may verify the info by checking the original story in Indonesian here.

For additional photos and email from Dr. Maria Tan, you may click this link. If you want to read the latest news about Lukas, please check this blog. If you have any idea or suggestion on how to help Lukas, you may either email me at atanone (at) hiwaay.net or go and fill out the comment in the blog. Thanks for visiting this site, and click here for Printer Friendly version..

Thyroid covers Lukas' neck.


His growth is very slow, even though he is 13 years old. His physical appearance even seems like a seven-year old. Lukas Rangga Ndaku Mbira seldom smiles in the joyous children world. He even didn't like to talk with his peers. He only smiles when he talks with his family members.

That was the condition of the youngest child of six from the couple of Karaenga (60) and Mrs. Magdalena (55), from Kiritana village, Pandawai sub-district, East Sumba District. Lukas, as he was called, was a patient participating in free treatment conducted by Bethel Church of Waingaipu, East Sumba, on May 27-28, 2005.

When Pos Kupang met him on Saturday (5/28), Lukas admitted that he suffered from thryoid problem since he was one year old. That means it has been 12 years that Lukas has struggled with this disease causes by the lack of iodine salt. Each year, the thyroid grew bigger. Now, the thyroid even covered his whole neck. The weight of Lukas thyroid is estimated to be 2.5 kg. Due to the large size of that thyroid, Lukas head seems to be always looking upwards. When he breaths, Lukas has to make a long inhale and all the veins on his thyroid are displayed. 

The family was unable to treat Lukas due to the lack of money. Forget about the treatment fees, even the transportation fee to take Lukas to hospital was really a problem for the family. That's why Lukas has given up and conceded to the condition.

When he was 7 years old, Lukas had asked his parent to let him goes to school. However he only stayed for two days, since his peers keep pounding on his thyroid. They didn't consider it a disease, but treated him as a toy. Accordingly, Lukas' parent felt sorry about it and didn't let him to go to school, and that was the reason why Lucas can not read and write like all his peers who are able to go to school. 

The chair of free treatment committee, Rev. Andreas Haning, who is also the head of Sumba Bethel Church, together with Dr. Maria Tan and Dr. Dany, told us that Lukas was taken to Waingapu for a free operation by the specialist from Singapore. However, the surgery has to be cancelled due to the lack of equipment in Waingapu. Lukas can only be treated in the large hospital with adequate medical equipment. According to Andreas, the church is trying to find donors who are willing to help Lukas.

Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Tan and Dr. Dany admitted the source of the thyroid of Lucas has not been determined, since there has not been any medical examination yet. However, according to them, in general, the thyroid problem was caused by the lack of iodine in the body, stress, lack of the immune system, cold or other reasons.

Lukas' thyroid, according to these doctors, has not been analyzed since Lukas has suffered from it when he was 1 year old. They only hope that someone will help Lukas with the treatment fund. "If there is help from the servants of God, then Lukas' suffering can be cured by the operation in Singapore," said Dr. Maria Tan.

Meanwhile, Lukas' family can only concede. "We leave Lukas to the help of the church," said Umbu, Lukas' uncle.(iva)

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