In many African countries, people with physical disabilities or deformities of any kind are often avoided, shunned from society, even denied opportunities for work or marriage. For 50-year-old Gladys living in Nigeria, her experience was sadly no different.
In Gladys’s small village, she lived a normal life. Until a mysterious mass began growing from her right nostril 7 years ago. As the tumor grew larger and began to visibly protrude from her nose, her friends began to distance themselves from her.
After 7 years, the tumor was huge and disfiguring, a terrible mass that hung from her face and reached all the way to her neckline. By this time, Gladys was a pariah, and had lost not only her former life, but her sense of personal dignity too.
Gladys didn’t have much energy left to hope, but in one last effort to find help, she showed up at a local hospital where Dr. Brian Camazine, a surgeon and a MAP partner, was performing operations at a greatly reduced price for patients in need.
Dr. Camazine, who has been making mission trips to Nigeria since he was in medical school in 1985, has a passion for increasing access to medical care for those who need it most.
When Gladys walked into the hospital, she had “the worst case of fibrous dysplasia I have ever seen,” said Dr. Camazine.
Fibrous dysplasia, a condition in which fibrous, scar-like tissue grows in place of normal bone tissue, is a painful, disfiguring disease.
Fortunately, Dr. Camazine had brought supplies from MAP International, and he was prepared to do whatever it took to give this woman her life back.
“We did a 6-hour operation and removed her tumor,” he reported. “She was so grateful.”
The visible results of Gladys’s surgery were not perfect – her face is still not completely back to “normal” – but Dr. Camazine says that can be further improved upon in the future, once she has healed from her initial surgery.
But Gladys wasn’t expecting perfection. She just wanted her life – and her dignity – back. And thanks to Dr. Camazine’s compassion, and the help from MAP, Gladys received just that.
“Your services are life-changing,” Dr. Camazine wrote to MAP. Now this woman is no longer an outcast in her village, and she has the chance to live life to the fullest once again.