Matadi Sela Petit was an 8 year old boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who had hopes and dreams like many of us. Matadi was born with a cleft lip, and a facial tumor, with the tumor getting enlarging progressively, it was determined something was needed to be done in effort to save the young boy.
With low funds the family of Petit didn’t have much of a choice when former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo’s Foundation reached out they started to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
However, in the surgery process, the 8 year old passed away due to a “rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia.” This surgery process and medical care was sponsored by a foundation created by NBA star of the 90s Dikembe Mutombo. The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation released a statement regarding the situation:
“We are devastated by the loss of Matadi and our heart goes out to his father, his mother and the rest of his family, and all his old and new friends,” they went on to say “Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover and he passed away last night.”
In addition to the generosity of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, the travel for Matadi and his family along with some additional medical expenses were funded by the Ronald McDonald House and Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
Matadi arrived to the US with his father on the 12th of December, and was actually met at The Los Angeles international Airport by the former NBA all star Mutombo. Mutombo told TMZ Sports he had previously met with the child and his parents in The Congo, he was quoted as saying “I was touched by what he’s going through as a young boy who’s eight years old. Not going to school. The way he’s been pushed away by the society.” The former NBA defensive phenom went on to say, “his mom has to keep him in the bedroom every day because people are talking bad about him.”
The foundation released a statement Saturday regarding the situation:” Matadi was a pioneer, and his memory will inspire us to continue to develop efforts and partnerships to improve the lives of the children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
The Dikembe Mutombo was founded in 1997, and the primary focus is centered around providing high quality health care and opportunities to anyone, regardless of their economic situations. The illustrious career of Dikembe includes an 18 year career in which he racked up over 3,000 blocks, putting him 2nd in league history for blocks in a career. Not only did Mutombo make a great effort to be a defensive anchor in his career, he makes an even better effort to make a difference in the lives of others.