Bow legged Sally

A free surgery revolutionizes the life of a young woman

“Sometimes, I would just sit down and cry,” said Sally with great emotion. For 17 years, people laughed at her and mocked her because of her legs – horribly misshapen and knock-kneed. The constant verbal abuse made her feel ashamed. Walking was difficult and tiring, so she didn’t go to school. She just stayed at home in her misery.

At age 10, an automobile accident damaged Sally’s legs. The local witch doctor blanketed her legs with a native concoction of boiled leaves and splinted her legs with wooden sticks for three months. But she returned home with bent legs. Without money for surgery, she had to learn to live with her disability.

Three years ago, Sally’s parents died. Since she had no siblings, she went to live with a friend. Her friend found a mentor to teach Sally to sew, and she eventually went to work at a dressmaker’s shop. In fact, she hopes to own her own shop someday.

A new friend at work told her that a Mercy Ship, offering orthopaedic surgeries at no charge, would soon be in Sierra Leone. She encouraged Sally to go to the screening.

The volunteer surgeons on the Africa Mercy surgically repaired her legs and put them in casts. When she awoke in the ward, she was delighted to see that her legs were both straight in the casts. But when her casts were changed, she was ecstatic. “I could SEE my legs were straight!” said Sally with a brilliant smile. “It’s like a dream, and I’m an angel that can walk on straight legs!”

While Sally recuperated from surgery, she received some very special guests – the wives of the President and Vice President of Sierra Leone! The moment was captured by a photographer and printed in the local paper. This was a highlight for all the patients in the ward, who dubbed her “Queen Sally.” She had never received such recognition before and thoroughly enjoyed the reflected glory of the event. It was a great beginning to helping Sally think of herself in a new and more positive light.

Another bonus of the surgery is that her straightened legs add height to her physical stature. When she walked on her bandaged legs for the first time, she exclaimed, “I’m so amazed! I used to be a short somebody. Now, I’m tall!”

It’s amazing how a free surgery can completely revolutionize a life!