Blessing was a normal, active nine-year old girl. As she was walking home from school one day, she fell into a ditch and wounded her left leg. The wound became infected. Doctors at the local hospital diagnosed the infection as Noma, flesh-eating bacteria.
They gave her penicillin but her condition worsened. The infection even attacked the soft flesh around her mouth, destroying the tissue-eating away her lips and nose and causing excruciating pain.
Few months after the accident, Blessing was taken to the Mercy Ships when it arrived in West Africa. After two surgeries, Blessing’s knee was repaired, and her lips and nose were reconstructed by the surgeons on aboard the Mercy Ships. Today Blessing is once again a joyful, confident child, who wins the hearts of all who meet her and she is looking forward to higher education, thanks to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and all the others specialists who work for free on aboard the Mercy Ships.
Blessing is just one of thousands of men, women and children who have had their lives changed completely as Mercy Ships sail across the Africa continent bringing love and healing to the poor.
Yesterday at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay, EcoBank Sierra Leone hosted a fundraising reception to honor and recognize the great work been done on aboard the Mercy Ship across West Africa. The reception was also a platform for EcoBank to confirm that they take their social responsibility seriously in Sierra Leone and for Sierra Leoneans to say thank you to the Staff of Mercy Ships.
The stories of many men, women and children who have had their lives saved and given a new life of hope for a better future are everywhere to be seen. And it does not take much to imagine the smile and serious changes that these surgeons, doctors and nurses bring to the lives of the hundreds they come across every day on aboard all of the Mercy Ships.
Speaking at the reception, the Managing Director of EcoBank, Mr. Clement Dodoo, disclosed that the bank decided to bring together customers and friends of EcoBank to help raise funds to enable Mercy Ships to buy additional drugs and other medical supplies that will help the medical staff to continue their good work, and to establish a strong working relationship between the two parties.
The EcoBank auction on aboard the ship was fronted by London-based Journalist and Broadcaster, Winston Ojukutu-Macauley Jr.
With prominent business executives and hoteliers on aboard the ship for the auction, it was a battle of generosity for most of the items that were up for grabs.
At one point, Dr Kishor Shankerdas of G.Shankerdas & Sons and Mr. Tunde Cole, Managing-Director of National Petroleum battled it out for a picture by renowned Sierra Leonean artist, Francis Sesay, whilst the owners of Mamba Point and the Chief Executive of Barmoi Hotel, Dr Sheku Kamara, tried to convince the gathering of the goodness of their establishment.
With signed football jerseys from Michael Essien of Chelsea and Emmanuel Adebayor of Manchester City, the EcoBank auction was able to raise over 100 million Leones for Mercy Ships. Mr. Donald K.Stevens, Founder and President of Mercy Ships, told Awoko that four things inspired him to take this wonderful venture to help people that cannot afford medical bills. He said he was inspired by his son, John Paul 35 years old, who cannot talk, feed himself but regards him as his father.
Mr. Stevens disclosed that Paul was a gift to his family and the one who opened their eyes to do good things by supporting others who did not have what it takes to support their medical bills.
Mercy Ships is a global charity organization that operates a fleet of hospital ships in developing countries. And according to the President, they have performed services impacting 2.16 million people valued at $748 million, and completed over 560 ports visits in 53 developing countries and 17 developed countries.