She's been suffering from scoliosis since the age of two. The way thirteen year old Jamila's spine was curved, left little room for her internal organs, so her stomach was the size of a peanut. Her intestines had no space which kept her from eating. Her lungs were impinged, so she couldn't breathe. All of her organs were being crushed. Every day was painful. Still Jamila dreamed of going to school, playing outside, and doing normal kid things. Her undiagnosed scoliosis prevented her from doing them all. Three years ago she finally found an answer to her debilitating movement, labored breathing and the ridicule of classmates.
Stand Tall International is an non-profit organization that arranges life-saving spinal surgery for children in East Africa. The co-founder, Masha Balovlenkov, met Jamila in Tanzania nearly three years ago when Jamila was only 11. Since then
Jamila patiently waited for the non-profit to find her a doctor willing to help with surgery. Last August, she got a brilliant opportunity to come to the United States and receive surgery at Texas Health Plano, more than 8,000 miles from her home in Tanzania.
That's where Dr. Isador Lieberman came in. Dr. Lieberman performed a spinal fusion to correct the curve in Jamila's spine, which she had lived with for more than 10 years. The condition had progressed so much that her ribcage had attached itself to her spine.
With two rods and 16 screws eliminating the curve in her spine, she went home to Tanzania in November, taller and more confident than before.
It is a miracle to see the changes already manifesting. She arrived in Texas weighing only 38 lbs at 13 years old. She is already 4 inches taller and has put on 10 much needed pounds.
Jamila still has a long battle to fight with malnutrition, physical therapy, learning how to use her breathing machine and returning to school but her resiliency makes her more than capable! Jamila returned home to Tanzania in November 2017 and started school in February 2018. She can even be seen sporting her new gym uniform around with a smile. She aspires to become a teacher one day and Stand Tall International will be there with her along the way to ensure she can achieve all of her dreams. We can not wait to see how she thrives in school and in her new healthier body. The sky is the limit.
Story courtesy of: Standtallinternational.org @standtallinternational on Instagram Stand Tall International on Facebook