For the last 25 years, BD and Mercy Ships have partnered together to provide life-changing surgeries to those in need. Through this partnership BD contributes medical and diagnostic equipment, medical consumables, and annual funding in support of Mercy Ships programs.
Nearly 5 billion people worldwide live without access to safe, timely, and affordable healthcare, according to a report from The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. This staggering statistic results in nearly 17 million deaths each year, which is more than the total deaths from HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
BD is a vital part of transforming lives like M’Mah Benessa’s.
When little M’Mah Benessa was born, her mother had a simple wish for her daughter’s life — to shine bright like a diamond for all to see. Unfortunately for most of M’Mah Benessa’s young life, the light inside her was overshadowed by the large neurofibroma growing on her face.
When she was just a baby, her parents noticed a small lump and dark hairs growing above her left eye. Unfortunately, the family had no way of removing the lump. By the time she was 5 years old, M’Mah Benessa’s neurofibroma was drooping over her forehead like a sac and beginning to dislocate her eye.
Eventually, more lumps began to develop on her skull and upper lip, causing severe swelling and further disfigurement. Other kids noticed M’Mah Benessa’s differences, which led to constant bullying and name-calling. They would call her “sick” and avoid playing with her because they were afraid of her. The teasing was so bad that M’Mah Benessa refused to go to school, even though her parents desperately wanted her to have an education.
M’Mah Benessa’s condition had the power to override her life, until she found hope! When her family heard about Mercy Ships, M’Mah Benessa’s mother was overjoyed. The family traveled for hours to get to the Africa Mercy where they met a volunteer plastic surgeon who specialized in neurofibromas, and soon M’Mah Benessa was scheduled for surgery to remove the tumor she had carried for years!
This surgery would not have been possible without the support of partners like BD who, over the last 25 years, have provided over $1.8 million in gift-in-kind and cash donations to help adults and children like M’Mah Benssa find hope.
In the weeks following her operation, M’Mah Benessa spent time onboard being showered in love and friendship by the other patients and the Mercy Ships volunteer medical staff and crew. Free from worry, the sweet 5-year-old slowly emerged from her shell, and her inner diamond began to shine.
Thanks to her growing confidence, M’Mah Benessa is no longer afraid to start school and will begin her education next year.
“When we came to the ship for the first time, I was just thanking God over and over,” said M’Mah’s mother. “There is no gift greater than good health.”
Mercy Ships looks forward to continue the amazing partnership with BD – working together to make safe surgery available to those in need.
Your support transforms lives and makes a lasting difference.