Every day, a growing tumor above Benessa’s left eye caused her more and more pain. Her mother worried and cried. Doctors feared she might lose her eye. By the time she was 5, a facial tumor had taken control of Benessa’s young life.

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losing her childhood

“She was so scared,” recalls Benessa’s mother. “She says everybody laughs at her.” Because of her tumor, other kids bullied Benessa. They avoided playing with her and called her “sick.”

So Benessa went into hiding. The little girl refused to go to school. She avoided any contact with friends.

Filled with fear and insecurity, Benessa’s childhood was being spent on the sidelines. A facial tumor was blocking a sweet, bright little girl from the rest of the world.

eye saved, joy restored

When Benessa’s mother heard about Mercy Ships, she was ecstatic. Her family traveled for hours to get to the Africa Mercy. And they got there just in time.

Soon after arriving, Benessa was operated on by Dr. Venter, one of our volunteer plastic surgeons who specializes in neurofibromas—the type of nerve tumor that had plagued Benessa’s young life.

“Without treatment, the tumor could invade the eye and we’d have to remove the eye with it,” shared Dr. Venter. Thank God, in Benessa’s case, that would not be necessary.

Now, thanks to her growing confidence, Benessa is no longer afraid of attending school. In fact, she restarted her education—and life—this year.

hope and healing for the hurting

In the world’s poorest countries medical care is too often unavailable to those who need it most.

For people like M’Mah Benessa, our hospital ship is the only opportunity they will ever have to get surgery and medical care that can save and transform their lives.

Every port we go to becomes a beacon of hope for hurting people. Our partnership with local governments and medical centers means we can leave behind a legacy of transformational care.

With the help of our volunteer medical teams, donated medical supplies and the support of caring friends, we bring first world care to the world’s suffering poor—repairing cleft palates, removing tumors, reconstructing burns, removing cataracts, and more.

Learn how your compassion can be a part of this transformational community.


You can help save and transform lives by giving free, 
safe surgery to children and adults in Africa.

CHANGE LIVES NOW