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Umu was born with a tumour. By the time she was three years old, it threatened her life.

A baby is born. Her mum can’t wait to hold her. To welcome her to the world and wrap her up in love.

But Yei will never forget seeing her baby for the first time. “I was afraid to see the tumour on her face.”

Umu grew to smile, laugh and play. Her mum adored her. But as she grew up, her tumour grew too. She found it hard to swallow and was often sick.

Every day, Yei grew more and more afraid that her beautiful baby would die.  

A crisis of care

This loving mum took her baby to every hospital she could find, desperately looking for help. But no surgeon could treat Umu’s condition in the whole of Sierra Leone.

No child should be born without access to hospital care. But for so many families like Umu’s, safe surgery is out of reach.

Yei bravely held onto hope. Thanks to God, and kind friends like you, her prayers came true.

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Umu plays on the deck of the Global Mercy with nurse Maddy.

Yei heard the good news that her daughter could have free surgery with Mercy Ships. She felt so grateful.

When Mercy Ships doctors saw Umu, they operated straight away. The tumour was growing dangerously close to her airway – there was no time to waste.

Yei’s heart raced as she watched her little girl wheeled away to the operating theatre. “I feared Umu would die.”

After what felt like forever, she woke up from surgery. She opened her eyes to see her mum smiling down at her.

“When Umu’s surgery was successful, I cried tears of joy”, said Yei. “I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.” 

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Umu looks in the mirror after her surgery and sees her tumour is gone.

As she recovers, Umu grows taller and stronger, day after day.

Now at home, Umu has started school. Her family are full of hope.

“She’s a very brave girl,” says her aunt, Fatmata. “The future holds something amazing for Umu. It’s a good feeling seeing how far this baby has come.”

Bring a miracle of mercy this Christmas

Now, another child like Umu is waiting for surgery you can provide.

Sadly, so many lives are at risk from poor healthcare in Sierra Leone. One in ten babies born today could die before their fifth birthday.

Your gift helps provide free, safe surgery on our hospital ship. And your gift helps train more surgeons to save lives in future. With your help, more children can grow up with hope and happiness.

Your generosity can create miracles for more families this Christmas. Donate by 31st December, and every £1 you give will be doubled to £2 for free.

Give now:

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Umu cuddles her mum Yei. You can bring a miracle of mercy to a child like Umu.

Photos: Mercy Ships/Judit Maier