Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/09/2013 -- Win Zaw Oo knew from an early age that he was different. He enjoyed a normal childhood growing up in Myanmar and playing with his friends like any other Burmese boy. But in his teens he experienced a growth spurt of epic proportions. He didn’t stop growing until he reached a height of seven foot eight inches. He has become well known in recent years and his new found stardom has resulted in an offer coming from Singapore for much needed medical treatment. His amazing stature puts him some twenty six inches about the average height for a Burmese man, which is a mere five foot six.
Known as Big Zaw to family and friends he is a well known figure in the region surrounding his remote Burmese village. He is far too tall to fit into a car and has to hire a truck to move around. His story appeared in the national press and sparked offers of help and a flurry of media interest. His growth is caused by a tumour on his pituitary gland and it’s needs surgery. The former regime in Myamar has left the country with inadequate medical facilities and the move to Singapore for surgery was vital.
Big Zaw had never even seen a plane before never mind flown in one. He was naturally nervous about making the trip. He finally flew out of the country on August 15th. He has had to face many challenges in his life. He has not owned a pair of shoes as an adult. Making such items is impossible in his village. His family make extra large clothing for him like the sarong type item worn by both men and women in the country, it is called a longyis.
This type of tumour is known as acromegaly and can often lead to gigantism. It causes many health problems and he suffers for excessive tiredness when he does any manual work. He helps with construction work in his village, saying that he has no need for a ladder. Other health risks are high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. Sufferers have a lower life expectancy.
The trip to Singapore is further evidence of Myanmar’s complete acceptance within the region. With the regime change has come many other changes. This kind of co-operation would have been unheard of a few short years ago. As Myanmar presents a more open door to its neighbors, so it is being accepted as an equal partner in Southeast Asia. Tourism in the country is simply exploding as thousands of tourists pour in to see the secrets behind its former closed doors.
Hopefully this openness will lead to an improvement in the health of Big Zaw.
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