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NYC baby girl, neck burdened with rare growth, is set for surgery

Maricela Diaz, left, and Herry Diaz, right, hold

Maricela Diaz, left, and Herry Diaz, right, hold their daughter Sandy Diaz in their apartment in Queens on Friday, July 29, 2016. Sandy Diaz, 1 year old, has a large tumor on her face that will be removed with a life-saving surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. Photo Credit: for New York Daily News / Go Nakamura

NEW YORK - A 1-year-old girl with a large, rare growth on her neck is set for surgery that her New York City family hopes will change her future.

The Daily News reported Saturday on Sandy Diaz' situation. She was born in June 2015 with a softball-sized mass called a lymphatic malformation engulfing her neck.

It's not malignant, but it has required Sandy to use a breathing tube and could cause infections or other problems. Her mother, Maricela Benitez, says Sandy doesn't yet crawl or walk.

The mass kept growing despite attempts to eliminate it. Benitez and her husband, construction worker Herry Diaz, felt desperate.

Now surgery to remove it is scheduled Wednesday.

The surgeon, Dr. Milton Waner of Lenox Hill Hospital, says many children look normal and function likewise after the procedure.

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