How you can help change lives this Giving Tuesday

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season — the stress of decorating a home, creating a fancy meal, or rushing to find the perfect gift — often clouds the real reason we come together during this time of year. This is a season of hope. And once the presents are opened and the decorations are back in their boxes, that hope remains. Hope for a new beginning.

For many of our patients, this hope is more tangible than merely longing to do better next year. It is a hope of healing. Hope for a fresh start, free from the conditions they have been burdened with for so long. Ailments such as cleft lips and palates, burn contractures, tumors, and bowed legs can cause scars that reach much deeper than what you may see on the surface.

For Isatu, these scars began when she was a young girl and stayed with her for 17 years. Isatu was plagued by the whispers of her community, who seemed only to see the tumor on her face. When she was ten years old, her jaw began swelling, causing her to lose several teeth and resulting in a large tumor that dominated her face and her life.

“When I walked, I would cover my face because when people see me, they talk,” Isatu said. “They make fun of me. When they talk, I’m ashamed. They make me cry.”

While the mockery Isatu faced was disheartening, the tumor she suffered from was slowly becoming more than just a social stigma — it would soon be life-threatening. Faced with the fear that her burden could eventually take her life, Isatu searched for a solution.

After hearing about a hospital ship that was offering surgeries in Conakry, Guinea, she decided to take action and began her journey. Once she arrived at the Africa Mercy, Isatu was able to undergo surgeries to remove the tumor and help reconstruct her face.

Several days after her final surgery, Isatu’s nurse began to change the bandage. When Isatu looked at her reflection, her expression was in awe — it was as if she could see into a whole new future! And despite the swelling from the surgery, her smile shone through.

Today, Isatu is able to confidently walk the streets of her neighborhood without shrouding her face, knowing that her beauty shows both inside and out — her future is once again full of hope!

The need for safe, reliable healthcare in West Africa is overwhelming. But, the good news is that your support this #GivingTuesday will help Mercy Ships bring hope and healing to even more people!

December 3rd will be the 7th annual #GivingTuesday — a day when people can be a part of a world-wide movement to give back to those in need. This day of global generosity follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday as another way of showing holiday spirit while bringing hope to those who have little.

Corporations are joining in this celebration, with Facebook pledging to help raise awareness and increase donors’ generosity by matching up to $7 million in eligible donations made on Facebook. 

When you give to Mercy Ships this #GivingTuesday, you give more than a donation, you give hope. From helping to provide safe medical care to the training of local medical professionals through our medical capacity building programs, your support will impact those we serve long after the ship sails from the port.

Thank you for faithfully working to see the world changed, and to give hope, one life at a time.