Man born with rare condition told he has to choose between his voice or face

Twin Cities man becomes rare two-time altruistic organ donor

A man with a rare genetic condition was forced to choose between his looks or his voice.

Zackery Brown has cystic hygroma which causes non-cancerous tumors to grow around his face, neck, and tongue. While cystic hygroma does not look the same in every person, for Brown, his condition causes his face to appear round and bulging where tumors grow.

Additionally, the tumors in Brown's tongue make it difficult to speak very clearly.

In a recent interview for truly, the 28-year-old said: "Growing up my parents sheltered me a lot from the outside world, they were afraid of me getting bullied," Brown says in his interview with truly. Because of this, Brown was homeschooled and played video games often to escape reality.

When Brown sought doctors to see if they could improve his cystic hygroma, they offered him a solution- they could operate on the tongue and jaw but it would likely make his voice worse because of built-up scar tissue and the jaw could cause the tongue to sit further back.

For Brown, it was a no-brainer. "I was like, 'no I'm good,'" the 28-year-old says.

Sign up for our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The 28-year-old said he did not care about cosmetic looks and would rather have a voice than not.

Upon the realization that Brown had to become happy with himself, he decided to turn his life around. He began working out at the gym to improve his self-confidence, got rid of his $5,000 video gaming set, and got a part-time job.

Some of Brown's goals for the future include moving up into a management position, buying a new Mustang, buying a new house, and getting into bodybuilding via social media.

"It's very important to be confident in who you are. Confidence is everything," Brown says.

I Had To Choose Between My Voice and My Face | BORN

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)