GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines —There was a celebration at the airport in General Santos City when doctors and nurses with the World Surgical Foundation (WSF)arrived.
A local high school band played while people welcomed the team. Word that the doctors were coming to perform free surgeries had quickly spread across the country.
Meanwhile, an hour away along the beautiful coast of the Saranggani Province, 3-year-old Daniela was waiting to see if those doctors could change her life.
Daniela’s mother cried when she spoke of how other children know something is different and how every moment of her day is spent making sure her daughter does not get an infection.
Daniela’s intestines do not connect. When she was born, doctors gave her a colostomy to save her life. Something went wrong, and her intestines prolapsed. Before the operation, several inches of her intestines were hanging out of her body.
To keep her clean and catch the faeces that comes out of her intestine, Daniela’s mother wraps a diaper around her sideways.
Soon, her daughter will be free to run and play with the other children. “These are tears of happiness, happiness that she may get her operation, we hope,” said Janelyn Adeneo, Daniela’s mother.
Daniela’s father is a fisherman and does not make enough to pay for the surgery she needs, which costs thousands of dollars. That is why Daniela and her mom made the trip to General Santos City for the World Surgical Foundation’s medical mission.
Midstate doctor Domingo Alvear, founder of WSF, examined Daniela.
“There is no way she can go to school like that. It can actually hurt and cause a blockage. So what we are going to do is reverse that and make her a whole person,” said Dr. Alvear. “If we close this colostomy, then she will be able to go to school.”
During a one-hour surgery, Alvear was able to reconnect Daniela’s intestines. Now she will no longer be ostracized by other children and will be allowed to go to school.
“Thank you. Thank you,” Adeneo said.