Michelle’s Story

“I don’t know what I could have sold in order to pay my daughter’s medical bill at Kijabe.”

– Willychister, Michelle’s mother

Willychister vividly remembers the day her first child, Michelle, was born. It should have been a day of joyful celebration, but Willychister spent much of it in a kind of numb disbelief. Her tiny infant had a strange tumor growing at the base of her spine.

At the local referral hospital, Michelle was diagnosed with a severe form of spina bifida known as myelomeningocele. With this condition the bones of the spine fail to develop completely, allowing a small sac of cerebrospinal fluid, as well as part of the spinal cord, to bulge out through the opening.

Living in a remote village in Western Kenya and scraping by on subsistence farming, Michelle’s parents spent agonizing weeks raising enough money to pay for the surgery Michelle needed. Imagine their distress, then, when only two months after her surgery, they began to notice that Michelle’s head was growing at an alarming rate. The doctor at their local clinic was unable to help, but he knew about BethanyKids and immediately referred them there.

 

A child sitting outside of his home in Western Kenya.

Willychister travelled the 250 kilometers (150 miles) to BethanyKids on a bus, with her baby in her lap. When they arrived, Michelle was quickly diagnosed with hydrocephalus and admitted for surgery. A shunt was successfully inserted in her head to drain the fluid that was building up and putting pressure on her brain.

Nearly half of Kenya’s population lives below the poverty line, and Michelle was born into one such family. They had used up all of their personal and social resources to pay for her first surgery and had no idea how they were going to pay for a second surgery. But instead of being turned away because of a lack of funds, Michelle was able to receive the surgery she needed at BethanyKids. One of BethanyKids’ key values is that no child should be denied surgery because of lack of funds. And the only way we can make this possible is through generous donations from people like you. Without this Michelle’s condition would have surely been a death sentence.

Michelle with her mother at the Mobile Clinic

One of BethanyKids’ key values is that no child should be denied surgery because of lack of funds.

Our Mobile Clinic team recently met with Michelle and her mother during a follow-up clinic, and we are happy to say that she is now an active and healthy 10 month old. Willychister could not hide her joy as the BethanyKids’ team reviewed her little daughter. “I don’t know what I could have sold in order to pay my daughter’s medical bill at Kijabe, but you assisted me and I am more than grateful.”

 

Thank you for your support!