Gift from Malawi


Date of Birth:  7th July 2005

Date of Contact:  May 2011

Location:  Malawi

Condition:  Tracheal stenosis (severe narrowing of the airway – such that he has needed a permanent tracheostomy to be able to breathe).

People can cope with tracheostomies for a short while without any problems, but when used for extended periods the airway can begin to narrow. In such an event, it is impossible to remove the tracheostomy tube without risking the patient losing their ability to breathe. The prospect of keeping a tracheostomy tube for the rest of one’s life is not a preferred option either, as the tube bypasses air entering through the mouth and nose where it is normally filtered and humidified to prevent infections.

Operation:  Tracheal reconstruction with rib graft at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermarizburg, South Africa in early 2012.

On 24th January 2012 Gift flew from Malawi to South Africa for surgery for tracheal stenosis. He was accompanied by his father, Flyson and Malawian nurse, Mulli. He had his first surgery on 13th February. It was an attempt to widen the trachea utilising a laser, but unfortunately it was not a success. It was a simpler approach that was worth a try, and there was always a reduced chance of success with the method. As such, the next, more complex and radical surgery was performed on 27th February 2012, and it was a success. In this surgery, the doctor’s performed a rib graft to reconstruct his trachea.

Current Needs:  Gift, Flyson and Mulli returned safely back to Lilongwe on 13th March 2012. Gift immediately went back to the hospital where he had been looked after for a year to thank his nurses and doctors. It was a moment of great joy with lots of praying, singing and hugging! The wound on his neck was healing really well, his voice was back, and he was encouraged to enroll in school for the first time!

However, in early May, he was admitted to hospital with what was thought to be malaria. He was being treated for this for a number of days until a severe and gangrenous bowel obstruction was found. He passed away on the operating table a day later, on 17th May 2012. We have been deeply saddened by the news, and our hearts and prayers go out to his family.

Gift touched so many lives in all the places he traveled for medical assistance, and he will be missed by them all. We are thankful for all who helped him in his need.