I’m an orthotist in Rustenburg, South Africa. At the beginning of this year I was contacted about Amahla, an 8yr old girl with clubfoot. When I heard her story, it touched my heart and I am sure when you hear it your hearts will be moved as well.
When Amahla was born she contracted viral meningitis (a swelling of the brain’s covering). She was hospitalized for 8 months. She recovered but was left with hydrocephalus, a condition where the pressure in the brain gets too high. This was not diagnosed until she was 7yrs old when her dad got a new job as a farmhand, and his employer realized something was wrong. His employer has taken an active role in Amahla's welfare, and has been instrumental in motivating and assisting Amahla with getting the help she needs.
By some miracle Amahla is alive and has suffered minimal brain damage despite living with severe hydrocephalus for so many years. At the beginning of 2018, she was admitted to the Nelson Mandela Hospital for life saving surgery where the doctors constructed a drainage system to reduce the pressure in her head.
This was performed and her recovery has been remarkable. However her story doesn’t end there.
Due to the hydrocephalus, she developed acquired clubfoot. A progressive condition in which her feet twist inward and downward. As the deformity progresses, she will become more and more disabled.
Just recently she she has suffered injury with her club feet causing her to fall through a glass door. This injury has resulted in two of her fingers being amputated.
She has been brought to me for assessment and assistance. Due to her age, the traditional treatment recommends surgical correction. Being reliant on government hospitals, where the waiting lists are so long. we have been told that she would have to wait at least ten years. By that time the deformity will be too severe.
Despite all this, Amahla remains a most happy, positive and easy going child. She charms everyone she meets and is determined to live her life to the fullest.
As a qualified Orthotist and Prosthetist I have developed a modified protocol for her. Using a series of braces which aim to slowly correct the deformity. We have just finished the first stage and have already seen very good results. Even her physiotherapist, occupational therapist and neurosurgeon commented on her improvement without foreknowledge of the new bracing system.
The rest of her bracing treatment will cost approximately R12 000 or only $850 at which point we expect her deformity to be fully corrected and for her to have functional feet.
I have funded the first brace and I have donated my time and skill but need assistance with getting Amahla the materials for her new braces.
Could you see it in your heart to help this little girl - and be instrumental in giving her a future!