Dad Pedals 1,200 Miles for His Son’s Mobility

January 02, 2020

New York to Florida. California to Texas. That’s the equivalent of how far this family of three has traveled on an old bicycle—through villages and grasslands, floods and heat waves—over the past 18 months to ensure their newborn son received a treatment that would change his life. In the rainy season, the voyage is seven hours one-way; in good conditions, it takes five.

Juma Mihambo, a farmer in northern Tanzania, remembers the heartbreak he felt learning of his son’s condition. After he was born, villagers treated the family as outcasts, saying their baby, Vicent, was cursed. No one they knew had ever seen it.

But health workers at the hospital where Vicent’s mother gave birth knew what it was. They said a MiracleFeet-supported clinic in Shinyanga could treat his clubfoot, that it was not a curse but a common birth defect. Juma was determined to help his son. “I just knew I would search far and wide to find a treatment,” he recalls.

They have made this journey 18 times.

He and his wife loaded themselves and two-week-old Vicent onto their bicycle and began traveling the long road to treatment. Setting out before sunrise, they pedaled across savannas, along dirt roads and highways to ensure he never missed an appointment.

The ride is exhausting for all, especially Juma, but envisioning his son’s future—one with healthy feet and full mobility—gave him strength to pedal on.

That future is now a reality. Two years and over 1,200 miles later, Vicent is a healthy two-year-old, busy chasing after older siblings and living a normal childhood.

He will likely never remember his long journeys to treatment—but his parents will never forget.

Vicent is one of over 8,800 children in Tanzania MiracleFeet has helped through its partnership with the Tanzania Clubfoot Care Organization. 95% of the 200,000 children born with clubfoot each year can be completely treated through a nonsurgical method. It corrects the feet and provides full, lasting mobility—for less than $500 per child.

I’ve watched MiracleFeet transform lives

…and it’s thrilling.”

Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times