By Staff Reporter
DAKAR, April 19 — A teenage girl from Senegal named Khoudia, who had to quit school and work due to a painful tumour on the side of her face, has had life-changing surgery thanks to a charity. When Khoudia was 10, she noticed a small lump on her cheek which continued to grow over the years. Despite her mother’s efforts to seek treatment at various hospitals, doctors deemed the tumour inoperable. As a result, Khoudia’s childhood was overshadowed by feeling rejected by her peers. By the time she was 16, the tumour had become incredibly painful, causing her to drop out of school and stop working as a maid.
During yet another unsuccessful hospital visit, Khoudia’s mother, Atta, heard about the international aid charity Mercy Ships. The charity had one of its hospital ships in the port of Dakar, delivering free surgery to those who have little access to safe medical care. Unfortunately, they had already finished their current service, but amazingly, the ship returned to Senegal, and Khoudia was cleared for surgery at age 18.
The volunteer surgeons of Mercy Ships performed a left parotidectomy to remove the tumour, which had been eight years in the making. After the surgery, Khoudia was pain-free and her face had healed, so she was discharged from the hospital a month later. Khoudia was thrilled with the results of the operation and excited to return home to her village to see her father, with whom she is very close. Atta was also overjoyed, saying, “I never thought I would see her cheek without the tumour in my life.” French nurse Caroline Grob was struck by Khoudia’s bravery, stating that she had a huge mass in her face and was always smiling, never complaining. – Namibia Daily News