Sandrine’s tears of joy quickly turned into sobs of fear after her longed-for daughter was born.

Serah was born with acute bilateral clubfeet. Her tiny feet were twisted at severe right angles, facing inward. Left untreated, this condition leaves children largely crippled for life.

Both Sandrine and her husband anguished over the fact that their daughter’s options for the future would be severely limited by this disability — possibly even preventing her from marrying and establishing a family support network of her own someday.

But then, the family midwife came to the family with a life-changing piece of information. A floating hospital ship, Africa Mercy, was coming to her country. Sandrine and her husband were assured that the ship’s medical staff had corrected many clubfeet in the past, so she believed they could help Serah too.

Sandrine took her baby for surgery screening the day after the ship docked. When she received an appointment card for treatment, her fear slowly gave way to hope.

When Serah became seven months old, she began weekly visits to the hospital ship. Physiotherapists gently stretched and manipulated Serah’s bent feet. After each session, Serah’s feet were held in the newly attained position by fresh plaster casts.

Serah had a total of six little casts placed on both legs before the date of her surgical procedure. The simple snip of her Achilles tendons allowed her feet to fully pop into the final corrected position. To maintain the form, she wore miniature foot braces for three months.

“I was so sad, but now I am overjoyed,” Sandrine shared. “I am very happy now she has ‘real’ feet.”

Now, when Serah takes her first steps, she’ll be just like all her other little friends. No one will know she was born with a disability.

While Serah will never remember living with her deformity, Sandrine will never forget the life her daughter was saved from.

Because of people like you offering time, energy, prayers, and gifts, multiple lives were transformed.

As Sandrine attested, “We won’t cry now. We will dance!”