Five-year-old Jacob is bright, outgoing and likes to play football. But life for Jacob hasn’t been carefree.
His father works far away from his home and his mother died last year. With no other brothers or sisters, he was left all alone. Luckily, his aunt took him in and he now lives with her and his cousins. With no income, Jacob’s aunt struggles to make ends meet and last year, Jacob’s cousin had to drop out of school. But this has only been one of his aunt’s many worries.
When Jacob was just a baby, his mother was carrying him on her back, wrapped in the traditional chitenge cloth. She was standing near an open fire when the chitenge came untied and Jacob slipped off her back and into the fire, sustaining severe burn injuries on his arms, face and torso.
Though he was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for his wounds, after they healed, they developed tight scar tissue which drew his elbows and wrists closed, making it impossible to extend his arms straight.
His older cousin, Loveness, age 23, has helped raise Jacob and helped take care of him after his injury. She spoke of the difficulties he faced without the use of his arms.
“He couldn’t use his arms at all and had to be helped with everything. He couldn’t get dressed by himself or pick anything up. Even eating was difficult for him.”
Jacob’s aunt was desperate to find help, so she took him to the Zambian-Italian Orthopedic Hospital where ReSurge’s international medical partner, Dr. Goran Jovic, provides reconstructive surgery for patients who otherwise would have no way of accessing the treatment.
Goran told her that he could help Jacob with reconstructive surgery and that the surgery would be free. Jacob’s aunt couldn’t believe it – this was a second chance for Jacob.
Since then, Goran has performed two surgeries for Jacob. He has regained full function in both of his arms and wrists, which has changed his life. Recently, Jacob started his first day of school.
Once reliant on others for everything, Jacob’s surgeries have given him an opportunity to grow up with confidence and independence.