When she giggles, it’s as if someone is blowing bubbles around the room. It starts slow and light, and before you know it, everyone nearby is captured by the sound. She plays soccer on grassy fields, dotes on–and fights with–her baby brother, and loves the color red, a testament to her boldness. Her name is Success, and her eyes reveal the strength and determination of a soul much older than an eight-year-old girl.
Cross International met Success not long ago in the halls of our medical aid partner CURE Malawi, a 58-bed teaching hospital. She was there in hope of a life-changing diagnosis and surgery. We were there to create a platform to share the gospel as a tangible expression of why healing matters to God.
At only eight, Success had already endured years of hardship. Every day at school, her classmates ridiculed and tormented her because she looked different, and her teachers remained silent. They looked right past her electric smile and only saw the abnormal rotation of her lower leg. To avoid bullying, Success would hide among local shops waiting for the school day to end so she could return home. She fell behind and the light within her grew dim. Success’s parents found out she was skipping school, and instead of getting angry, they felt compassion for their hurting daughter. Guided by their faith that God can move mountains, they enrolled Success in a new school led by a pastor where the value of diversity was taught and discrimination was not allowed. Like most parents, they fought for Success to have every opportunity available and prayed like warriors for healing.
After years of misdiagnoses and poor treatment, Success and her family were referred to Cross International partner CURE Malawi, where she finally received the correct diagnosis and, more importantly, hope for a cure. They learned Success had Blount’s disease, a growth disorder that causes her tibia to angle inward that would require a painful surgery to correct.
As spunky and fearless as ever, Success was eager for surgery. On that life-changing day, doctors straightened her leg, fit her with a frame, and predicted that she would be walking without assistance in just 20 days. Determined to heal, the athletic little girl resiliently powered through physical therapy, sticking with it even when it was painful.
Today, Success walks, runs, and sometimes nearly flies, on two straight legs. She attends a school she loves with friends that can’t get enough of that bubbly laugh. Success’s parents truly believe in the power of prayer and witnessed God change their daughter’s life through the ministry of Cross International and its local partner, CURE Malawi. Join our Thriving Kids initiative to give more children like Success the services, medicine, surgery, and healthcare they need to giggle, play, learn, and grow.