Pascalina is a beautiful five-year-old girl. She’s is the second-born in a family of three children, and is always notably friendly to those around her. Both of Pascalina’s parents are small scale farmers, while her father also seeks out casual laboring jobs to further help earn a living. Pascalina was born as a healthy child, however when she reached one and a half her parents became concerned. At that age they had expected her to be able to stand up and walk, yet she could not.
Pascalina was diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus. This is a condition typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, Pascalina couldn’t stand or walk, as her legs were too weak. Her parents tried seeking treatment for her and used medication, but nothing seemed to help. By the time Pascalina had turned three, despite her feeble ability to stand and walk for a short distances at a time, her parents began to notice that her legs were bent inward forming knocking knees. Last year they visited a local hospital in their village seeking treatment, however were then advised to go to a referral hospital that her parents could not afford. A year later, having not received any treatment, Pascalina’s legs had become so impacted that she was unable to walk or stand without crying due to the pain she felt.
A local priest advised her parents to seek care at The Plaster House, in Arusha, Tanzania. There, through internal funding, Pascalina was able to have surgery on both legs to help correct them. However, given the severity of her condition, the first surgery was not enough to fully correct her legs. As a result, she needs another surgery to complete her treatment and her parents are asking for help to fund her care.
Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 for corrective surgery for Pascalina. The procedure is scheduled to take place on February 11th. With treatment, Pascalina’s mobility will hopefully be restored, which will allow her to walk without pain, and play with her siblings and friends like normal. Her risk of having future complications will decrease as well.
Pascalina’s mother says, “We could not afford treatment for a long time, but since the first surgery, she has improved. We wish to see her continue improving and be like any other normal child.”