11/21/2014 01:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Jose Antonio Ramirez Serrano Has Football-Sized Tumor Removed

An 11-year-old boy from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is recovering Monday after surgeons in New Mexico successfully removed a football-sized tumor from his neck and upper body.

The removal of the 11-pound growth was the culmination of a two-year charitable effort to get medical care for Jose Antonio Ramirez Serrano.

The boy's growth was the size of a golf ball at birth, but had grown to be nearly 12 inches long and 4 inches wide, Reuters reports.

A 25-person medical team spent 12 hours operating on Serrano at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

It marked a two-year effort by the First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho to help the boy. Church members became aware of him during a 2012 missionary effort. The boy's parents had hit a dead end in terms of getting medical help for Jose in Mexico, Newser reports.

The surgery was an important step for Serrano, according to church spokeswoman Kristean Alcocer.

"The road to recovery will be long, and many challenges still lie ahead," Alcocer said, according to the Associated Press.

The mass is gone, but doctors said Serrano will still require a number of followup surgeries to reconstruct his shoulder and remove excess skin, UPI reports.

boy tumor

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