Less than one month old, Sabbath is the youngest of five children in his family in Kenya. He was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which several vertebrae in the lower back do not close properly, leaving his spinal canal exposed.
Sabbath has a swollen mass on his lower back. The mass—which contains a portion of his spinal cord that protrudes through the opening in his backbone—is open and leaking cerebrospinal fluid. If untreated, Sabbath is at risk of infection. In addition, he may develop a tethered cord if the exposed spinal cord attaches to other tissues in the lower back. A tethered cord can cause curvature of his spine as he grows.
Sabbath’s parents were advised to seek specialized treatment for Sabbath when he was born, but they cannot afford Sabbath’s surgical care. His mother stays at home, and his father is a fisherman who earns just enough to sustain the basic needs of the family.
Treatment for Sabbath is spina bifida closure surgery. Doctors will place the spinal cord and nerves back inside the backbone and cover them with membranes before closing the opening on Sabbath’s back.
$805 pays for Sabbath’s surgery. Funding also covers the costs of a five-day hospital stay, three days of physical therapy, imaging, lab work, and medicine. A well-wisher offered to pay for the family’s transportation to BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital for the surgery.
Sabbath’s mother looks forward to a successful surgery for her son. “I had to hide [him] from people in my village as they all wanted to see the swelling,” she shares. “I am glad to have [come] to a place [where] he can be treated, and I am longing to see him well.”