Last month, Denis received surgery to make his legs straight.

On Tuesday, March 31st, Denis’ external fixator will be removed.

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A NEW FAMILY

Denis has suffered way too much in his young life– not just pain from his bowed legs but the heart-pain of abuse. His sister has given him a new home and a new start.

Denis lives in rural Uganda, with his sister, Roy, her husband Ronald, and their three children – Rita (8), Linda (6), and Fred (1). It wasn’t always this way, though…

One year ago, Denis lived with his natural father. Though – because of his bent legs – he was neglected, even abused.

“While all other children at my father´s place were sent to school, Denis was neglected by the father.” Roy, Denis’ sister, now caregiver, says. “He didn´t bring the boy to a doctor or send him to school. Instead the father gave him funny and abusive names because of his disability. He has even beaten the boy”.

Roy confronted her father.

“I felt so bad for Dennis and I asked my father: Why do you mistreat the boy? But he gave me some money for transport and said: If I mistreat the boy you should take care of him.”

And so Roy and her husband Ronald accepted Denis into their family – as one of their own children.

“I really wish Denis´ legs can be corrected and he can walk, run and play like all other children in our village. This is my biggest wish.” – Roy, Denis’ Sister and Caregiver

THE LIMITS OF LOVE

Poor farmers and brick-makers, Denis’ sister and brother will never be able to afford the surgery Denis needs.

Roy and Ronald, Denis’ caregivers, are farmers and brick-makers. They own a small yard where they mainly grow maize, beans and sweet potatoes. Whatever they don’t eat, they sell at the market.

Apart from the field work, Ronald has a small business as brick maker. And now they want to start rearing pigs and goats. So far they only have one goat and one pig (plus a few new piglets) and a chicken.

Together – the farm, the bricks, the animals – keep food on the table and cover the many school fees for the 4 children. They are not nearly enough, however, to provide the surgery Denis needs.

“We really would like to bring Denis to a doctor, but we do not have money for any intervention.” Ronald says. “We tried to save money for him this past year – but as the season last year was not very good, we failed.”

Despite the family’s good hearts and hard work – Denis’ miracle surgery depends on an act of love from elsewhere.

“If he remains with this condition he will face very difficult times in future… He may have even more pain. And he might never find a woman who wants to marry him in future …” – Roy, Denis’ sister and caregiver

HOPE HAS A NAME… IT’S AGNES

When Agnes, a cbm community worker, found Denis, his healing journey began.

Late last year, at an outreach clinic near Denis’ village, Agnes – a cbm community worker – found Denis and his family. She told them about cbm – and their partner hospital, CoRSU.

She told them about generous people who would cover the cost of Denis’ care. This marked the beginning of Denis’ healing journey…

Suddenly, Denis – and his new loving family – had hope.

MIRACLE SURGERY

It will take pins, plates and perseverance to make Denis’ legs straight and strong.

Denis has a condition called Blount’s disease.

Dr Loro, a cbm orthopaedic surgeon, explains what would happen if Denis did not receive treatment:

“The right knee would definitely continue growing in the wrong direction – and there will be one point where Denis will not able to walk anymore because of severe pain…”

Two different medical interventions were implemented to straighten Denis’ legs:

Denis’ right leg was broken and reset – it is now held straight by an external fixator and metal struts that will hold the bones in the proper position. Over 45 days, these bones will grow back straight.

Because the bend in Denis’ left leg isn’t as severe, a more gradual, less invasive intervention was implemented. A series of plates were attached to the bones in his left leg. Over a series of months, these plates will guide the legs to grow back straight.