before

meet Mary

Country: Madagascar, Africa
Age: 14
Surgery: Maxillofacial

a dangerous wait

Mary’s tumor, a neurofibroma, had been growing for years. Her desperate family took her to doctor after doctor, only to hear the same answer, “No, we can’t help.” Days, months, and years slowly ticked by, and, steadily, Mary’s tumor continued to grow.

This type of tumor develops around the nerves and in rare cases can reach into the brain and become deadly. The longer the tumor is left untreated, the more dangerous it becomes. Mary had lost hope of being healed when one day her family heard about Mercy Ships.

 

 

a glimpse of hope after years of waiting

After a long day of waiting in line at the Africa Mercy screening center, Mary received an appointment card. In a few weeks’ time she would see a surgeon who would decide for sure if her tumor was operable.

Mary waited for two more weeks. Her mother had decided it was best if her daughter remained at home until they had a more definitive answer. As the days wore on, Mary spent long afternoons playing by herself, quietly hoping for a miracle.

And then, the day finally came. Mary boarded a white Mercy Ships vehicle and was taken to a medical tent. After years of waiting, they received wonderful news, “Yes, we’re happy to tell you…you’ll receive surgery this week!” Mary’s mother beamed and a hint of a smile crossed Mary’s face too—a glimpse of hope after years of waiting.

smiles for all

Surgery came and went and Mary’s tumor was replaced with a clean white bandage. Once it was removed, Mary looked and felt like a new girl. Her frown has been replaced with a smile. Her “bag face” has been replaced with a beautiful, confident gaze. Now unafraid of the taunts she endured, Mary can’t wait to return to school.

little miracle

When Miracle was born with a deformed leg, her mother worried desperately. How would her sweet little girl walk? How would others treat her? What kind of future would she have? The world can be cruel to children who are different.