A 12-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare disease has a stomach, bloated so out of proportion that she appears like she is on the verge of giving birth, and doctors are unable to stop it from growing even larger.

Meng Caixiu of Guizhou Province in southwest China had been diagnosed with a liver cyst, an abnormal thin-walled fluid-filled sac that develops along with the organ, when she was only a year old, according to China Central Television reports.

Despite her parents having spent all their savings and borrowed money to treat her disease, her doctors have not been able to stop her belly from ballooning.

The clear scarring on her stomach suggests that one operation has already failed to treat her condition. 

“Her belly is getting bigger and bigger and her condition is getting worse. She looks so pitiable,” her father Meng Guofan said to CCTV. “Now the family is so impoverished that we can't afford the medical fees for her any longer. She is such a poor child.”

The girl’s family is now asking in desperation for help from a benefactor to fund treatment as quickly as possible.

Although China is a Communist country, many of its people still have to buy basic medical insurance which covers only half of the costs of their healthcare, and the remainder is usually paid by either the patients themselves or by their health insurer.

China’s healthcare system leaves the most impoverished in China struggling to pay for medical bills for serious conditions like Meng Caixiu’s liver cyst. 

The cause of most liver cysts are unknown, and the can be present at birth or develop later in life and usually grow slowly and are not detected until adulthood.

Most liver cysts do not cause symptoms, but if cysts grow larger than seven centimeters they can cause bloating and pain in the abdomen and can sometimes lead to liver failure or liver cancer.  While most liver cysts do not need to be treated, if they are large and painful, they would need to be drained or surgically removed.