GPED, Helping Michael since October 2017.
Michael is a 9 year old boy from Zambia, currently doing well in grade 1 in mainstream school and he loves Spiderman! However, unlike most 9 year olds, Michael suffers from Type III Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Due to this bone condition, Michael has had multiple fractures in his legs and cannot put any weight on the lower half of his body (currently wheelchair bound). He also has deformities of his upper limbs and is very painful.
Michael, and his favorite Spiderman toy
One of the first challenges Michael had to overcome was to get access to the medical expertise that he needed. There are no specialists in Zambia that are able to diagnose or manage Michael’s condition. The first step was to confirm the diagnosis. Thanks to the Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry, Michael was finally able to travel to South Africa to seek medical advice in August of 2017.
The next big challenge for Michael was to get access to the treatment that was recommended. There is no cure for Michael’s condition, but we can prevent pain and additional fractures with bisphosphonate therapy, in addition to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, vitamin D and calcium supplementation. However, similar to many low income countries, bisphosphonate therapy, which is given in a short infusion twice a year, is not available in Zambia.
Global Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (GPED, www.globalpedendo.org) is a Canadian charity that aims at supporting adequate medical care for children with hormonal conditions (such as thyroid diseases, abnormal growth, weak bones…) who live in countries with low resources.
GPED identified a suitable specialist for Michael in South Africa and provided him with his first biphosphonate treatment on October 31st, 2017. The most immediate, and perhaps life changing effect of this medication is the pain relief. His caregiver said that he had his best night of sleep ever, as he had slept through the night for the first time, without bone pain! In the coming years, we are hoping to make his bones solid so that, after surgical correction, he may one day walk!
Today, we are asking for your help to ensure more children like Michael receive the critical medical care they need to learn and grow.