A teen in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be able to breathe a little easier after 10 years of carrying a heavy burden on her jaw. Mercy Ships, a charity hospital, helped 17-year-old Grace undergo surgery to remove the tumor located on her lower jaw and teeth. Now, the brave teen will be able to eat, speak, and even go to school without being self-conscious.

The teen’s condition began with a little swelling inside as gums started to grow little by little. Grace and her mother, Christine, sought help from a local hospital, but doctors did not know what it was, and offered no treatment options.

"I was sick, I was always indoors, I was not happy anymore, I worried all the time,” Grace told TLC UK’s “Body Bizzare” in the video.

It was not until the teen was discovered by a Christian pastor was she able to receive the life-saving operation on-board the Africa Mercy, one of the Mercy Ships, which acts as a moving hospital around the world to help provide free healthcare services to the less fortunate. Surgeons knew they had to immediately plan the surgery after a CT scan revealed the severity of the facial tumor.

“When it grows where it is in the mouth - as it expands it pushes the tongue into the back of the throat and that's when they get into airway crisis where they can't breathe. Ultimately if she wasn't treated she could die from suffocation,” said Dr. Gary Parker, a surgeon on the Africa Mercy, the Mirror reported. Parker added: "to remove the tumor we had to open the neck to allow access to the jaw and separate the tumor from the normal jaw."

Doctors recommend a six-month recovery time for Grace, followed by adding artificial teeth if she wants. The artificial teeth will help the teen with her chewing and allow her to function properly and have a normal life. Grace must now adapt to life with the titanium metal plates that replaced her jaw.

Grace was so thankful for her surgery she now wants to study medicine and pursue a career in nursing so she can help others like herself who suffer from complicated medical conditions. "They made me happy - now I want to study and help other people. I would like to work on the Mercy Ship to help people for free, like they have done for me,” Grace said. "It changed my life - now my face is good,” she continued.

The teen’s story will appear in the TLC series Body Bizarre which airs every Thursday at 9p.m. on TLC.