A routine surgical intervention is all that stands between little Cecelia and her dream of one day being able to ride a bicycle. This 10-year-old girl from Madagascar cannot move too quickly, cannot lift anything, and must limit her intake of liquids to avoid severe pain caused by an inguinal hernia that presses on her bladder.
Instead of running around, dancing and playing games like other girls her age, she has to limit herself to walking slowly, and all because of a condition that would have been remedied long ago, if she did not live in a developing nation, where she has no access to the surgery that would repair her hernia.
Fortunately before any more serious complications could develop, this injustice has been righted, and Cecelia has received a relatively simple hernia surgery aboard the hospital ship Africa Mercy. After just two nights on board, one before and one after her surgery, she was able to move to the nearby pre and post op hostel set up by Mercy Ships, where she could rest and regain full strength again, before commencing the long trip home to her village.
Cecelia said that she had very much enjoyed her time on board the ship, and made the whole room burst into laughter, when she said that she couldn’t wait to get back home to tell her school friends about her “vacation” on board a cruise ship! She did say however that she had missed her best friend Angela very much, but she had been comforted by the knitted doll she had named Julia, given to her by the crew when she arrived.
Now Cecelia has returned home, is back at school, and will soon be able to see her dream of riding a bicycle come true. However there are far too many other children who still need surgery, so it is imperative that apart from providing these free surgeries, we continue our programs that provide training for local medical staff, and to develop local hospital infrastructure, so that one day perhaps they will have all the staff and facilities they need to treat their own people.
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