Lasting Impact in Action: Ly Cheick’s Story
Ly Cheick, a 24-year-old Guinean student, was in the prime of life with plenty of dreams for the future. However, he had a problem — one that was only getting worse over time. He had noticed a bump growing in his mouth that was becoming more and more visible.
In 2020, after a recommendation from his doctor, he decided to pay a visit to the dental clinic in Gamal Abdel Nasser University. The newly renovated clinic, led in partnership between Mercy Ships staff and the university’s administration, has become an epicenter of training and hands-on learning in the port city of Conakry, Guinea.
Thanks to donated state of the art medical technology, the clinic’s team was able to provide a panoramic radiograph and determine that the cause of Ly Cheick’s swelling was a maxillary tumour. While the tumour was slightly larger than a golf ball at this stage, it had already begun to cause discomfort and affect Ly Cheick’s quality of life. Left unchecked, it would have continued to grow unabated.
With a diagnosis in hand, Professor Raphiou Diallo — a long-time partner of Mercy Ships and a local maxillofacial surgeon — was able to perform life-changing surgery to remove Ly Cheick’s tumour.
“He is fortunate that there is a panoramic X-ray machine that has been installed at the university which currently makes it possible, at a very low cost, to establish the radiological diagnosis in particular tumours,” said Dr. Diallo.
A straightforward journey to healing
Because his case was caught and treated early, the 24-year-old has a straightforward recovery ahead of him. He hasn’t had to drop out of school or stop working because of the tumour’s effect on his health. In many ways, he is one of the lucky ones.
Unfortunately, this happy ending hasn’t always been the case in this context. As Professor Diallo explains, many patients in Guinea aren’t able to seek quality medical assistance due to limited resources in-country, a lack of financial means, or geographical distance from care. As a result, many people turn to traditional practitioners who lack the ability to diagnose and treat them properly. In a tragic number of cases, this story ends with inoperable tumours and early deaths. This is exactly the outcome that the dental clinic’s team — including Professor Diallo and our Mercy Ships staff on the ground — is trying to prevent.
The life-changing impact of early treatment
Ly Cheick’s case is a powerful case in point. “It means a big thing to me,” he said of the surgery to remove his tumour. “It means a change in my life. In fact, I am living a new life without a tumour. It makes me happy deep down.”
“I am very proud of what is done by Mercy Ships,” said Professor Diallo. “I am sure that if the project continues, it will enable us to equip the cities of Guinea with excellent dentists, who will not only be able to prevent patients from complications at very advanced stages, but also to diagnose benign and malignant tumours at very early stages.”
Ly Cheick is just one example of the importance of lasting impact in action. While Mercy Ships medical crew typically perform more than a thousand surgical procedures onboard during each field service, our impact doesn’t end when we sail away. Thanks to surgeon mentoring and ongoing training programs, like the dental school in Guinea, the hope for safe and affordable surgery can continue to change lives long after our hospital ships depart.
As we approach the close of this year, let us take a moment to reflect on the challenges and trials faced by so many, especially those who have experienced profound loss. This season, while we gather with loved ones to celebrate, let’s also remember those who are still suffering, those who have lost their way, and those who have lost their faith in a better tomorrow.
During this holiday season, we invite you to join us in this mission of compassion, faith, and renewal.
Your generosity can make a real and lasting impact.
This Christmas season, let’s come together as a community of faith and support to bring restoration to people who have lost so much. Mercy Ships Canada is on a mission to heal and transform the lives of Children and adults in need. Your gift, rooted in faith, can make a significant difference in the lives of countless people. Your support will bring back smiles, health, and faith to children and adults who have suffered for far too long. Donate today and make this Christmas truly meaningful.
At Mercy Ships Canada, we serve those who have lost hope, bringing healing and transformation. Our volunteers, inspired by their faith, work selflessly to perform surgeries that renew not only bodies but also faith and hope. This Christmas, be a part of the miracle by making a donation to Mercy Ships Canada. Your contribution will help renew faith and offer a second chance at life. Together, we can make a significant impact on those who have suffered for too long.
As we approach the holiday season, we are reminded of the immense power of faith and the importance of giving back to those in need. This Christmas, you have the opportunity to be a beacon of hope, healing and transformation for those who need it most.
Your support this Christmas will not only change lives but also reaffirm the spirit of giving and faith. Join us in spreading love, hope, and healing.
Make a donation today, and together, we can transform the lives of people who have lost so much.
Our journey continues, and we’re excited to have you by our side as we embark on new adventures of compassion and change.
The last time Catherine Conteh saw the deeply familiar smile in front of her in Freetown, it was under dramatically different circumstances. Learn more about Aly’s act of kindness!