Lantosoa – the kid magnet

When 14 year old, Lantosoa found out she could get a free surgery from Mercy Ships she was overwhelmed with excitement. The small teen had been struggling with gigantism, in her right foot, for her entire life. When she was born, this foot was slightly bigger than the other and as she grew so did her foot. At age 14, her right foot was large and uncomfortable. She dreamed of wearing shoes that would fit both her feet.

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The Mercy Ships screening team came to a local hospital in Mahajanga, where Lantosoa is from. She visited the hospital and was granted a free surgery. Although she was very excited, many villages were hesitant and warned her about going to the ship. They were not positive that these good intentions were realistic and feared it could be a scam. However, with her older sister’s encouragement, and another young villager, that would also get a surgery, the three girls made the two-day journey to the ship.

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When Lantosoa arrived to the ship she was very shy, but sweet. As she prepared for surgery, in her ward, a strange thing happened. Little children began to come up to her bedside and ask her to pick them up. She happily welcomed them and soon became known as ‘the kid magnet.’ Children flocked to her bedside to play games or simply spend time with her. Her soft manner gave these children comfort before surgery and as they recovered. As Lantosoa received the gift of a free surgery, she also gave to many of the other patients on board. Her care for the little ones gave them great comfort and joy in a time they really needed it!

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Today Lantosoa has returned to her village on what she describes as a much lighter foot. She now can do the things she loves like play hopscotch and skip rope with comfort. Her right foot is still slightly larger than her left, however, the Mercy Ships team had made her dream of wearing shoes come true, with two custom sandals that will fit both her feet! We are thankful for Lantosoa coming to Mercy Ships and bringing so much joy to the other patients onboard!

Through the kind donations that so many give Mercy Ships is able to give the gift of a restored life. After our patients are healed, we have seen many times them take this gift of health and continue to give through their positive mindset, kindness and ambitions.