Face an extremely risky surgery or die. That's the situation a five-year-old boy from South Sudan faced.
Because of the risks involved, many neurosurgeons would not operate on Paul Telaar but a Sioux Falls doctor took on the challenge.
Paul is a very outgoing, happy and loving five-year-old boy.
Singing is one of his favorite activities, but just a couple weeks ago, he couldn't even talk.
"Paul was really sick," Paul's mother, Rebecca Telaar, said.
Home video from South Sudan shows just how much of a struggle Paul had with everyday tasks. The video was shot in April, less than half a year after Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"It was getting worse every day, every day," Rebecca said.
Just a few weeks ago, Paul could barely swallow and wasn't able to move the right side of his body.
"All the people were worried about his life," Rebecca said.
The family says every doctor in Africa and several neurosurgeons in the United States didn't want to operate on Paul.
The tumor was located within Paul's brain stem.
Sioux Falls Neurosurgeon Dr. Wilson Asfora decided to try the risky surgery. A mission group raised money for Paul's trip to America.
"If he had come here a day later, I don't think he would have survived," Asfora said.
As soon as Paul arrived, Asfora did the first of two surgeries.
"We cut a hole in the skull and brain," Asfora said.
The first surgery was to relieve the pressure in the brain. Then two weeks ago Asfora tried to remove the tumor that has been causing Paul's health issues.
"If you damage the brain stem, the patient doesn't wake up. If they do wake up, they have major neurological impairment," Asfora said.
Not only was Asfora able to remove almost all of Paul's tumor, but it also was not cancerous. The five-year-old boy is now back to talking, smiling and singing.
"It's a great feeling. There's nothing in the world that can pay me for that, to see a child so happy," Asfora said.
Asfora expects Paul's condition will continue to improve over the next two years. His mom has not only pledged to help others because of what she calls a miracle, but she believes her son will bring smiles to many other faces.
"With that very bad condition, a lot of people were worried, even the sisters and brothers, but Paul never worried. He was telling me, 'Mom, God will help me.' So he was encouraging me,'" Rebecca said.
"Mary's Project-Mission Hope South Sudan" is the group that raised the money to bring Paul to the United States.