Abier’s success story: “My legs are the same length. I couldn’t be happier”

“I was about to give up. I was starting to become detached from my family and friends as there were no doctors or experts helping people with bone complication like mine. I was always sad and preoccupied until I heard about the limb reconstruction services. I felt there was a glimmer of hope coming to rescue me.”

Abier* is 22 years old and lives with her family in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. She is in her third year at university studying Computer Engineering. Abier spoke to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) about a life changing injury she sustained as a child and the treatment and care she later received from the MAP-supported limb reconstruction team.

“I was three years old when the accident happened. I was holding my Grandma’s hand and walking beside her when I slipped from the pavement and suddenly a car ran over my leg. I felt numb and fainted, I was transferred to hospital immediately. When I was older, I was told that the doctors had performed a skin graft on my foot.”

At the age of 10, it became apparent that Abier’s left foot was tilted. Her father and mother took her to an orthopedic doctor for an examination and assessment.

“A specialist doctor decided I needed urgent surgery to adjust the bone in my left ankle.”

The surgery seemed to be a success. After that, Abier was able to walk to school, play with her friends and wear regular shoes. However, as she got older, something was not right.

“Gradually as I was growing up, something felt peculiar. My right leg was growing whereas my left was not. I started to wonder if this was due to the surgery. I was so tense and lost”.

Abier and her family went to several orthopedic surgeons seeking treatment, but no one was able to offer help as they feared an operation could put her life at risk. The only solution Abier was offered was a shoe raise for her left leg.

“I feared there was no solution for my leg. I was always bad tempered and gloomy.”

“In 2019, I heard about a limb reconstruction unit. I heard about it through word of mouth from someone being treated at the unit, and they described their surgeries as ‘remarkable’. We decided to see if they could help me.”

Abier visited the limb reconstruction unit that MAP helped to establish in partnership with IDEALS. There doctors diagnosed her bone condition and prescribed a specialist frame, a Taylor Spatial Frame (TSF), to lengthen her left leg. They said that the limited growth in her left leg was due to the operation on her ankle, which had hindered the bone growth.

“The Limb Reconstruction doctors were very helpful and keen to treat me. They gave me a day for surgery, and I was very encouraged. On the day of the operation, I woke up and was very happy. I picked some flowers from the garden and put them in a vase then placed it in the centre of the table. I was very optimistic and positive. After the surgery, I was sure there was a chance for me to have a normal height to my left leg. I was delighted, the happiness overwhelmed me.”

For six months Abier followed a personal treatment plan and slowly her leg began to grow.

“While doing the lengthening exercises, I remembered all the words of encouragement from the doctors.”

In March and April, Abier’s access to the limb reconstruction unit stopped due to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, Abier continued to follow her treatment plan at home and spoke regularly with the team for support and updates. When the outpatient clinic resumed with increased precautionary measures, Abier went to have a checkup and the doctors booked a date to remove the frame from her leg.

“I’m very grateful, I can walk normally now, and both my legs are the same length. I couldn’t be happier.”

“I’m very thankful to the limb reconstruction team and MAP’s team. I will continue with my dream, I’m very optimistic. I want to finish my bachelor’s degree, obtain my master’s degree outside Gaza, come back and be a lecturer . I am very keen to make my family proud. Thank you all for helping me and for paving the road for my future successes.”

Thanks to our supporters, MAP has been able to help Abier. Please donate today to help us continue supporting limb reconstruction in Gaza.

Support our work

*Name changed to protect identity

Keep up to date

Sign up for our newsletter to receive all the latest updates from our programmes, campaigns and fundraising appeals.