Kimberly from Guatemala
Much of the following story was told to Dr. Michael Mallahan by Kimberly's adoptive mother Brenda, a volunteer translator for our medical team in 2014. Dr. Mallahan tells the story of his encounter with Kimberly.
|Kimberly with her adoptive mother|
Kimberly was born with a significant hearing loss and did not have access to school like other children. Her mother died at an early age and her father remarried again. Kimberly's stepmother already had 3 daughters and didn't think the family could support another girl. She wanted Kimberly to be put on the street as a prostitute to support the family. Her father got her away and asked Brenda, a local woman that helped with teaching sign language to children, to take Kimberly to live with her. Brenda agreed and taught Kimberly to sign.
I met Kimberly when Brenda brought her to see me on the first pre-surgical screening day. Brenda was there to help as an interpreter. She told me that she had been teaching Kimberly sign language since she didn't have a hearing aid. We examined Kimberly and Pam Spencer, a volunteer audiologist with our team, fit her with hearing aids.
The next morning Brenda came back and told me how excited Kimberly was because she could hear the birds outside the home for the first time ever. Kimberly returned for the rest of the week to help with the young children being fit with hearing aids. Kimberly and Brenda will be helping us this coming November when we return for another surgical trip.
Of course, nothing is ever expected of the children in return for the help they receive. Nonetheless, this is a recurring story throughout the history of Healing the Children, for our patients to go on to become volunteers or to otherwise get involved with helping others.