Born less than one month ago, Quinel lives with her parents and older sister in a one-room rental house in Kenya. Her mother is a housewife, and her father is employed casually as a carpenter.
Quinel was born with a cystic mass on her lower back. Her condition—known as spina bifida—is a birth defect in which several vertebrae in the lower back do not close properly, leaving the baby’s spinal canal exposed. The spinal cord and its surrounding membranes protrude through the opening in the backbone, forming a sac on the baby’s lower back.
Without treatment, Quinel is at a risk of acquiring infections and experiencing delayed physical development. In children with spina bifida, the exposed spinal canal allows the spinal cord to attach to other tissues in the lower back. The cord can become tethered to those tissues and cannot move freely within the spinal canal, leading to back or leg pain, weakness or numbness of the legs or feet, and difficulty standing or walking.
Doctors immediately referred Quinel for specialized treatment at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital to save her from the effects that come with the condition. At BethanyKids, an immediate operation is required at a cost, but Quinel’s parents are not able to raise the funds required for her surgical care.
For $1097, Quinel will undergo a surgical procedure to place her spinal cord back inside the spinal canal and close the opening on her back. Funding for Quinel also covers the costs of a ten-day hospital stay, three days of physical therapy, imaging, lab tests, and medicine.
“It’s a tough battle, but I believe we will get through,” share Quinel’s mother. “My utmost prayer is that Quinel gets treated.”