Christmas is nearly here, and we have just been given a gift that means even more children will get the life-changing surgery they need when our ship returns to Africa in 2021. Our special Christmas Match has been extended to the end of the year thanks to a generous donor who has agreed to match all gifts up to $250,000! 

That means there’s still time to double any gifts given and provide twice the hope and healing to children who are still waiting for the one surgery that can change their lives forever. Children like twins, Assane and Ousseynou, from Senegal.  

These 5-year-old brothers shared more than just their looks. They shared a rare condition that caused their legs to bend painfully outward at the knee. People in their village teased and ridiculed the boys for their severely bowed legs, causing their confidence to suffer tremendously. 

“It was hard for us. We knew that the neighbors were laughing about the twins,” their mother, Awa, said. “We could not hide Ousseynou and Assane away, so we all had to live with people treating them as inferior.”

Their parents had no access to the surgery needed to heal the boys’ legs, and they worried there was nothing they could do to protect them. Then, they learned that Mercy Ships was coming to the port of Dakar. The family traveled over 200 miles to our ship, the Africa Mercy. It was the farthest away from home the twins had ever been, but also the closest they had been to healing. And once onboard, they received the surgery which brought healing to their bowed legs, thanks to our volunteer medical team and our generous partners. 

During the weeks following their surgery, Assane and Ousseynou quickly won over the hearts of our volunteer crew while they went through rehabilitation onboard. Today they are both happy and healthy back in their village, where they can finally play with other children.  

“Since I gave birth to them, I have never seen them run,” their mother told us. “The surgeries created this opportunity. It is something that comes only once in a lifetime. 

It’s children like Assane and Ousseynou who inspire us to continue bringing vital, life-changing surgery to those with no other options. When we return to Senegal in 2021, we will help bring healing to many more children who are still waiting to have their lives changed forever. 

We will soon be launching our newest ship, the Global Mercy™, to join the Africa Mercy on our life-changing mission. This new ship will give us more than twice the capacity to provide surgeries. Plus, it will have even more classrooms for training local doctors and nurses, too. Because now, after this year of crisis, we know more than ever how important it is to have strong healthcare systems worldwide. 

Saving lives. Transforming futures. Strengthening healthcare. Creating miracles. At Mercy Ships we are committed to continuing to make all of this our mission — now with two ships — thanks to the generous support of our friends. Thank you!