A six-year-old whose legs were so bent her parents had to CARRY her to school can walk for the first time in years – thanks to life-changing surgery.
Schoolgirl Satou started to suffer from ‘windswept legs’ when she was just three-years-old – causing her legs to bend dramatically to one side.
The condition – which can be caused by malnutrition – eventually left her unable to walk, and her family said she was rejected or bullied by peers and locals.
Just as the family began to lose hope, a charity hospital vessel – Mercy Ships – docked near their home in Senegal, west Africa.
The determined young girl had surgery to straighten her legs, before rigorous rehabilitation to walk tall for the first time in years.
Satou’s mother Khady said watching her daughter’s casts being removed, to reveal her straight limbs, was a dream come true.
Khady said: “Satou used to feel very upset when others disrespected her and I wished she could be like other children.
“I had never dared to dream of the possibility that my her legs could be straightened.
“So when I heard of the arrival of Mercy Ships, it felt as though the doors of heaven were being opened for her.
“I will never forget the magical moment I first saw her straight legs without the casts – it was the kind of thing you can only dream of.
“We used to carry her to school and pick her back up afterwards, but now she’ll be able to go by herself.
“That joy is indescribable.”
The family were already struggling to afford food for the family, so couldn’t pay for expensive surgery.
Mercy Ships offers free surgery, and onboard the ‘Africa Mercy’, the schoolgirl made friends with other children with physical disabilities.
After a successful surgery, Satou went to rehab where she learnt to walk with straight legs for the first time in years – and loved it so much that she would often ditch her walker and even try to dance.
Satou has returned to her Senegal village where she now proudly walks to school on her own.
Khady said her daughter can now live life to the fullest after years of feeling ashamed and helpless, the charity said.