I met Tamandami and her sons Francis and Blessings over a year ago. They were the sort of patients that made an impression, not only because they have a rare condition, but because of their personalities. During their first week in the hospital, Blessings and Francis were running around with their newfound friends, tripping all over the place because of the severe deformities in their legs, and bouncing right back up with smiles every time.
Tamandami and her sons all have skeletal dysplasia, which is one of the bone conditions that cause Dwarfism. Francis and Blessings’ femurs and tibias show up in X-rays as curvy, like a “C” shape.
Over the course of a year, Blessings and Francis had three surgeries each, and Francis has another operation coming up in a few months. They have come in for countless physiotherapy and doctors appointments; yet, they still seem so genuinely cheerful to come to the hospital.
A few months ago, I interviewed Tamandami about her situation. It’s not very often that we get a parent coming in with the exact same condition as their children, so I wanted to get her insight on what it is like. Tamandami uses a wheelchair the majority of the time. Although, she can walk with a cane; it causes her pain.
The following is edited for clarity.
My name is Tamandami, and my kids are Francis and Blessings. They are unable to walk properly because their bones are bent. It has affected their lives since they were born. They are unable to walk for long distances or go to school. They need someone to help them.
The condition that I have, as well as my sons, makes me feel like I didn’t help them properly as a parent. I need someone to help me and to help my children; on my own I can’t do anything…. I didn’t go to work or do any business because I was afraid when I go there, how will my children survive when I’m not there?
It’s been hard on them because they were unable to go to school and when they did go to school their friends were laughing at them. When they came back from school they said, “We are not going back there! Our friends are laughing at us, so we are going to stay at home.” I would still advise them to go to school.
Now, I hope that my kids are going to be like others. When I came here the first time, the doctors operated on the one side and I saw a difference from before. Now, I see the difference, and I hope that when they have had all their operations, they will be okay and good to go to school—to go where they want to go and to do what they want on their own.
I’d advise my fellow parents who have kids with disabilities to come here. Other hospitals I advise them, “Do not to come here because the doctor will not come and help,” but I tell them that CURE is the one hospital that helped us here in Malawi. I am grateful for CURE because without them our children would be hopeless.
Since I interviewed Tamandami, Blessings and Francis have had two more operations each. They are becoming more and more adept at walking with straight legs! We talked to Tamandami again after all of Francis’ and Blessings’ bones were straight to get an update.
Despite the fact that I did not get an opportunity to be treated for the condition that I and my children were born with, I am so thankful that CURE is helping my children. I feel good now that Francis and Blessings are able to walk! I have so much hope that I will be able to see them living their dreams. I am happy these kids will be able to walk and run. I am so encouraged to see my kids walking, running, and jumping! It’s beautiful to have them walking.
I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to say to her son’s supporters in the United States and abroad. I’ll let her have the final word.
I ask God who is in heaven to bless them because we cannot manage to pay for our sons’ operations. We ask God to bless them more and more. Continue to do this for other people. May God bless them abundantly. Thank you!