A girl who was called a ‘witch’ due to her severely bowed legs can finally stand tall after a life-changing operation. Julienne, 14, was just a baby when her mother, Veronique, from Cameroon, noticed her legs were bending abnormally.
Later, she was formally diagnosed with bowed legs, a condition that causes the knees to grow painfully apart.
Julienne said: ‘I used to ask God, ‘Why me, out of all the people in the world?’”.
Walking was a challenge and on the days Julienne couldn’t ride public transport she had to walk to school. It would take almost two hours of painstaking effort under the sweltering sun to walk to school.
She was even rejected by relatives due to her condition and struggled to even stand sometimes
Julienne received life-changing treatment by international charity Mercy Ships, who were able to straighten out Julienne’s legs and give her a normal life.
Her family couldn’t afford to pay for an operation, but thankfully the charity covered the costs.
Julienne continued: ‘I wished I could tell people, but I kept it quiet because I didn’t want people to laugh at me if it didn’t work.’
After a successful operation, Julienne faced yet more hard work with physiotherapist Meg Crameri.
Meg said: ‘It was challenging at times. There were tears and sweat, but it’s obviously all worth it in the end. She’s brave and a fighter.’
It took several months before Julienne was given the green light to return home.
When Julienne looks at photos of herself before the surgery, she doesn’t even recognise herself.
‘This isn’t me anymore – these aren’t my legs!’ she said. ‘That girl is not me.’
‘I am so happy. God has sent Mercy Ships to Cameroon. It shows me that God has a special love for me. I would have stayed like that for the rest of my life without Mercy Ships.’