By Dylan Bedell, MiracleFeet Communications Intern
A parent’s love knows no bounds and there is nothing this family in Tanzania would not do for their son. William was born in September 2013 in the Mugumu district with unilateral clubfoot. The midwives who helped deliver him immediately recognized the condition and encouraged the young parents to start treatment early on to achieve better results.
Many of our stories start with a child living in shame in the shadows of their village due to a lack of education about clubfoot and its treatability. Similarly, William’s mother and father had no history with the condition in either clan. William’s parents were met with mixed reactions as villagers came to extend congratulations for their new baby. Some were encouraging and supportive, echoing the advice of the midwives to seek treatment, but others were doubtful, believing “such a disability can never be corrected”. William’s parents remained firm in their determination to get their newborn son treatment and after the allotted two weeks since his birth, they returned to the hospital to begin treatment.
William immediately underwent four weeks of below-the-knee cast treatment without much change. His parents exhausted their resources to pay for their son’s care. Although they were willing to do anything to help William, life took its toll and the visits became less and less frequent. Lacking money to pay for treatments, William’s father left home for Mwanza to find work, sending home his earnings to his wife to start William’s treatments again.
With the steady influx of money from his father in Mwanza, William’s treatments resumed, resulting in six months of under-the-knee cast treatments with no improvement. William’s father continually checked on his son’s condition while remaining away working. Each relapse brought more heartbreak and desperation. William’s father stopped casting treatment and uprooted his family to Mwanza with him. Nearby, the Sekou Toure Hospital – a MiracleFeet-supported clinic – started treatment using the Ponseti Method hat could make the difference in William’s case.
Although William is only in the casting stage, specialists are very optimistic about success and William’s dreams for the future. He hopes to become a construction engineer like his father before him. Finally William’s father can smile. “My faith, trust, hope and love that I have for my child showed me the way. I witnessed children with clubfoot walking and I believe my child will walk.” Now a father can rest easy knowing that his child’s future will be wider and his world will be a bit better.