meet Sambany

Country: Madagascar, Africa
Age: 56
Surgery: Maxillofacial

A lifetime of rejection

The tumor was also an emotional burden for Sambany. Family and friends rejected him. People mocked him. Neighbors asked “Why are you still alive? No one can help!”

Sambany’s poverty blocked every option and hopelessness defined his life. His house was his only place of safety and peace. “Every day, I was just waiting to die,” Sambany said.

Then one day Sambany heard an announcement that resurrected hope: a hospital ship that could treat tumors for free was coming to Madagascar. In spite of his weakness, Sambany told his family, “Die or survive, I want to go!”



A new chance at life

His family recognized his desperation and determination. They sold a rice field to pay for the journey. Five people took turns carrying him on their backs for two days. Everyone rallied around Sambany for the first time in his life and he made it to Mercy Ships.

Due to multiple health concerns, Sambany’s surgery would be extremely high-risk. Mercy Ships surgeons said the tumor was one of the biggest ones they had ever seen. For almost two weeks, Sambany rested as the medical team determined the best course of action. “I know I might die in surgery,” he said. “But I already feel dead inside from the way I’m treated.”

After finally receiving the high-risk surgery, Sambany was finally free from the burden that had weighed him down for 36 years. With his head wrapped in bandages, he looked into the mirror and said, “I am happy…I’ve got a new face. I am saved!”

a childhood restored

Little David had no idea about the lifetime of cruelty and pain facing him because of his bowed legs. In Africa, people suffering from physical deformities are often outcast by neighbors and even family. As a result, children are often unable to go to school.