He was only seven years old with a full life ahead of him. But when Dr. Philip Meinhardt met the little boy, he had a large bony tumor growing off the back of his cervical spine at the base of his skull.
“It had started to deform his spine and was putting pressure on his spinal cord,” Meinhardt said. "Without surgery, the child would have been paralyzed by the time he was 10, if not sooner. In a society where disability might still be viewed as a curse, children are sometimes hidden by their families or outcast from the village. At best, their only future could mean life in the streets as beggars.
But today, this fortunate boy is like any other seven-year-old – in constant motion. Meinhardt’s team was the first to perform operations of this kind in East Africa, and this young boy is one of the success stories. Handicapped children can now walk, a medical miracle in one of the world's neediest areas for medical intervention.
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