Maria's Story...

Marrying and bearing children is the best thing any person would like to do. Children, in all situations, are the sweetest thing to have. When living in poverty, parents put all their hopes on their children, hoping that eventually they will earn money and save the family from the vicious circle of poverty. 

However, all such dreams and hopes are shattered when a chronic illness invades the family. Poverty is a ‘cousin’ to diseases and in a poor family, diseases are very often present. The existence of disease often leads to the children’s premature deaths, or leading challenging, hopeless lives. 

Children bring happiness to the family but when chronic illness is present the very poor often cannot afford medical care, leading to despair and even break up of families. Sadly, and ignorantly, the child then innocently becomes a curse to his/her family. This is exactly what happen to Maria’s family. 

Here is her story, related by her mother.

“I was still a student when I fell in love with Maria’s father. I told my mother about it, but she wouldn’t give her consent, saying that I was too young to differentiate between a liar and a true lover. At that moment I was sure that he was the true love of my heart. I continued keeping it as a secret and joined a vocation school where I had to train for two years. During my second year in training, I conceived with Maria and that is when I told my mother who was responsible. Towards the end of that year, I gave birth to a bouncing baby girl whom I believed to be the uniting angel between me and my family. My husband was very excited and from that time we started living together. Because I was still happy in my marriage, none of my relatives talked ill of my husband. Maria was so entertaining and active during her early stages. I started planning on how I wanted to raise her and wished for her to train as a nurse when she grew up. On the 20th March 2018 when she was nearly 3 years old, Maria had the first stroke. We rushed her to the hospital thinking that it was something simple that the doctors would treat and then discharge us. Little did we know that this was to be the cause of the breakup of my little family. Maria was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease. She was given medication and doctors told us to keep her on regular folic acid. Her father and I treated Maria and she recovered from that stroke. However, Maria’s health began to deteriorate. On the 28th May 2022, she had another stroke. 

Her father then turned against us. He claimed that no one in his family ever had Sickle Cell Disease and said that Maria was therefore not his child. Eventually he left us, saying he was looking for jobs. Days became weeks, weeks became months and now months became years when he has not returned home. At first he continued to pay for our house rent but over the last 6 months these payments have stopped. I am now struggling to feed my two children and yet Maria needs a great deal of support. On the 12th September 2022 Maria had a 3rd stroke and was again admitted to hospital. This is when God provided us with a caring ‘father’, a father who never abandons his children when they are in need. This ‘father’ is Medcare, working through Wellspring Children’s Sponsorship Scheme. All the medical bills we needed were provided, together with Maria’s special feeding. 

On the 22nd February 2023, Maria woke up very well. She dressed and I took her to Wellspring for Physiotherapy for her routine treatment programme. She appeared well during physiotherapy but shortly after the treatment, she became weak, started vomiting and began convulsing. The Wellspring medical staff gave her first aid and then referred her urgently to Masaka Hospital. In hospital Maria continued convulsing and had to be sedated. For over a week, Maria was lying in a non-responsive state, feeding was through a feeding tube and she was on oxygen therapy. At this time, I gave up. All I could do was pray for my daughter, who I had had such high hopes for as a nurse. Eventually Maria was discharged from hospital. She could recognise me but had lost her speech and could not sit on her own. I was so happy she was home again with me but once again matters became worse. She immediately developed a high fever and again began convulsing. After further investigations it was discovered that Maria had contracted TB which was in her brain. 

I began to regret having ignored my mother’s advice when I was younger. Through Medcare the hospital bills were paid for but what about my feelings? It is so painful for a mother seeing her child suffering and in pain, and even more difficult when you are a single mother with no income or means of support. 

My daughter continues to feed through a tube and now she has completed 7 months on TB treatment. She continues to attend physiotherapy at Wellspring and her feeding, medication and travel costs are all met through the kindness of her sponsors. All I have gone through with my daughter is so painful but I have a reason to praise my God, for he has continually provided for my daughter every step of the way. I pray the He continues blessing Medcare and Maria’s sponsors so that they will be able to continue supporting Maria until the day she recovers.”

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