Teen with Severe Case of Bow Leg Returns to School Thanks to a Free Surgery

The 14-year-old Valerie was able to go back to school after she was operated on for free to fix her bowed legs.

She developed the condition early on in life and somehow learned to live with it. However, it all started becoming harder and harder as she grew.

School, home, and work all became more challenging to deal with due to her disability. She was diagnosed with the condition at the age of four.

Her self-confidence and overall quality of life reduced, especially after her parents decided to pull her out of school. Later on, she started to apprentice at the tailoring shop of her uncle.

She learned a lot there and became a talented seamstress. But, the condition made everyday walking a nightmare.

Valerie’s Hope for a Free Surgery & a Normal Life

One day, a customer at the shop told her that there was a hospital boat in operation at a dock close by. The boat is run by the charity Mercy Ships which provides free-of-charge medical services to people from the area. 

They operate the biggest non-governmental hospital ship in the world and give humanitarian aid to terminally-ill patients. They’ve operated in more than 57 developing nations and in 18 developed nations globally. Their current focus is Africa.

Valerie was on the Africa Mercy ship of the charity along with other 76 teens who applied for free surgery during the 10-month stint of the boat.

Successful Planning & Execution of the Surgery

The doctors from the non-profit hospital worked up a plan for the surgery of Valerie. They removed a bone wedge at the outer part of the knees that caused the bowed legs.

It was all successful and then Valerie spent time in post-surgery rehabilitation for around four months and this is when she also learned to read. A friend on the ship gave her alphabet pages and she loved them.

Valerie was inspired and wanted to read more and more.

With Her Legs Fixed, Valerie Had a Simple, yet Powerful Wish

With the surgery going well and the rehabilitation helping her gain her confidence and leg strength back, Valerie was also eager to learn and read and hoped for the day she goes back to school.

She’s no longer spending all of her time at the shop but is also regular, happy kiddo who goes to school and has friends. Although she’s the same girl as she’s always been, she’s now full of confidence and happiness that she has healthy legs like all the other children.

Bow leggedness is a deformity characterized by an outward bowing at the knee and this makes the limb appear as if it were an archer’s bow. The main cause is rickets, but it can also be caused by other conditions like tumors, infections, and skeletal issues.

Valerie didn’t reveal the cause of her bowed legs, but she was already too excited for the return to school. She believes it will be great and how everyone will notice that her legs are now straight!