Hope Regained at a Mobile Clinic
“…his resilience and determination to overcome the life hurdles that most children never have to endure keeps me going.”
Faith remembers a time when things were better. She and her husband had married young and when they found out they were expecting a child, they excitedly began to plan for their new little family. They couldn’t afford an ultrasound, but that was OK — they wanted the gender of their baby to be a surprise anyway.
When Aloice was born, his gender was not the only surprise that awaited Faith and her husband. What an ultrasound would have revealed early on was that their firstborn son suffered from myelomeningocele, a severe form of spina bifida. Faith remembers a doctor listing the lifelong disabilities their son was likely to face: inability to walk, bladder and bowel incontinence, hydrocephalus, cognitive delays… she remembers that there was little offer of hope for her tiny baby. “Our lives took a different turn,” Faith reflects, looking back on that day.
Unlike many children in Kenya born with this condition, Aloice was able, at six days old, to have surgery to repair the defect on his spine. What is more, he miraculously avoided many of the prognoses his parents fearfully anticipated. He learned to walk, and suffered no cognitive delays. Still, their family only enjoyed a kind of fragile happiness.
Illustration of a child with myelomeningocele.
Faith and her husband had five more children after Aloice, and three of them suffered from a seizure disorder. When Aloice, at 15, began complaining of headaches, vomiting, and his own seizures, something in his father snapped. After trying unsuccessfully to poison his four ill children, he ran away.
Faith was now alone with no income. She struggled to support her six children by doing laundry in the neighborhood, but she could no longer afford the treatment her children needed. And Aloice’s condition was deteriorating. The strong and bright teenager, now often in tears from the excruciating headaches, was slowly losing his ability to walk.
By the time Faith heard about the BethanyKids Mobile Clinic coming to a nearby town, she had little hope left for her son. After all, even if a treatment was available for Aloice, how could she afford it? Yet something compelled her to go anyway, and we thank God that she did. The team was quickly able to diagnose Aloice’s condition as a shunt infection and blockage — a routine fix for our neurosurgeon. And when they referred Aloice to BethanyKids for treatment, they were able to assure his worried mother that his medical costs would be taken care of.
Aloice and Faith ready to go home after a successful surgery.
Aloice had a successful surgery a few weeks ago, and he is already setting his sights on getting back on his feet, literally, and helping support his family. He is planning on enrolling in Joytown School, where he will be able to get an education among peers with similar challenges. Faith has regained some of her hope, and continues to marvel at her son’s strength. “He is an amazing child and his resilience and determination to overcome the life hurdles that most children never have to endure keeps me going.”
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