Hawa with large facial tumor

meet Hawa

Country: Liberia
Age: 7
Surgery: Maxillofacial

Hawa smiling with her friends
Hawa smiling after tumor removal from face

When Hawa was just 6 years old, a benign tumor began to grow in her mouth. Her mother initially thought a tooth was about to fall out; however the swelling increased. A year later, the tumor had grown to fill Hawa’s mouth. Meager feedings through a straw were the only thing that kept her from starving. Hawa’s disfigurement led villagers to believe she was cursed. Local doctors examined the tumor and told her parents there was no hope. She and her family were threatened, outcast, and left to fend for themselves.

Hope was fading fast. In the U.S. this would have simply meant a basic surgery to remove the growth, but then, Hawa’s father, Hassan, heard about the arrival of Mercy Ships in neighboring Liberia. In a final effort to save his little girl, Hassan made the grueling two-day journey with Hawa to see the visiting doctors.

Mercy Ships doctors examined Hawa and immediately operated to remove the tumor.

Onboard the Africa Mercy, this precious child and her family finally found hope—and healing.