GRACE Home: Ndola, Zambia Date of Birth: 12-20-2007 Diagnosis: Severe hypertelorism with facial cleft
Grace is a 3-year, 9-month old girl who was referred to the World Craniofacial Foundation by Goran Jovic, MD, in Fall 2008. Dr. Jovic is the Director of Interplast Surgical Outreach Center in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. He is the only plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Zambia, a country of more than 11 million people, where 73 percent of the citizens live below the poverty level.
Because of the severity of Grace's condition, Dr. Jovic cannot treat her in Zambia. In 2009, he arranged for a CT scan to be conducted and, at WCF recommendation, a CD of CT results was sent to Medical Modeling, Inc. Andy Christensen, president of Medical Modeling, donated a three-dimensional model of Grace's skull, which can be used in planning reconstructive surgery for Grace. Dr. Kenneth Salyer, who was consulted regarding Grace's surgery, has advised that surgery be delayed until Grace was 3-5 years old to allow for more bone development.
Grace is the only child of her parents. The Kabelengas live in an extended family of 7 in Ndola, a city of 375,000 people, 250 miles from Lusaka. Her father is a registered nurse and midwife, who serves as a clinical instructor at the Ndola Central Hospital Schools of Nursing and Midwifery. Grace's mother works as a lab technologist for the Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC). Family income is about $990 (USD) per month. Dr. Jovic has spoken highly of Grace's mother, stating:
"Mother is extremely caring and loving. Child is well looked after by mother and I told her that doctors in US will try to help the child."
Due to her condition, Grace has had some difficulty eating and she has been treated for anemia because of this. Otherwise, she appears to be in good health and is developing normally, according to her parents. The father adds that Grace's appearance has led to harassment and discrimination from others. He says:
"I am sure you understand what we have been going through--especially intimidation, stigma, being laughing stocks, just to mention
a few. Had it not been for the grace of God and so much encouraging people like your team, we would be so much devastated by now."
Grace remains a happy child, who enjoys dancing to gospel music and praise songs, and Mr. Kabelenga comments:
"We are still trusting God she will one day indeed dance to the glory
of God and testify about what God has done for her following her successful operation we [are] believing God for."
WCF Family Care Coordinator
November 14, 2011