Esther’s story

Meet Esther, from Cameroon

Esther was a beautiful, healthy baby, who delighted everyone.

But she was born into poverty. Because of this, she didn’t get enough of the right nutrients during the first 18 months of her life. So, she developed rickets, a vitamin deficiency that caused her legs to soften and bend incorrectly under pressure.

Esther’s mother, Mabel, tried to find a way to fix her vibrant little girl’s twisted leg. She was told that nothing could be done and that it was too late.

As Esther grew up, she was treated differently due to her windswept leg, and her mother sadly watched as her little girl slowly became more reclusive. After she started school and the teasing increased, her energy and love for life diminished.

The Esther that Mabel knew was disappearing before her eyes—scared of the unknown and unable to continue school.

“She would sink back into herself and not join in activities—that’s not my girl,” says Mabel. “My girl is bright, fun, loving.”

The right solution for Esther

Mabel couldn’t stand to see her daughter hiding her light and feared for her future. The more Esther lost her zest for life, the harder Mabel prayed for a solution.

One day, a friend told Mabel about Mercy Ships.

Filled with hope, mother and daughter made their way to our hospital ship. Soon Esther was accepted for orthopedic surgery and began her transformation. Our crew fell in love with Esther and cheered her on through surgery, rehab, and every painful step of recovery.

Each week her muscles grew stronger and so did her confidence. With her pink cast, colorful hair bands, and charming personality, Esther made friends everywhere she went.

Straight legs and renewed hope

Today, Esther is so excited about going back to school without being ridiculed for looking different. Mabel’s eyes fill with tears when she says, “Now I have hopes for her. She will be able to go back to school to get an education for a bright future. She has so much more of her life ahead of her now.”