The Patient Ambassador on a Hospital Ship
A Doctor, a Leader, and a Pillar of Hope
Amadou refused to be defined by the tumor that had been growing on his face for more than 15 years. To those in his community, Amadou was a doctor, a leader, and a pillar of hope.
Medicine was a clear path for the 46-year-old, who had been a practicing nurse for over 20 years, fulfilling his desire to help others. Over the years, his own health deteriorated as he developed a Pleomorphic tumor in his salivary gland that grew slowly and steadily on the side of his face. But his condition did not stop him from caring for his patients.
“I did not ever tell myself ‘because you have this tumor you cannot help others’ — that would not be fair to them,” Amadou said. “Instead, I told myself that I should still try my best to help those around me so that God would help me in return.”
Amadou knew that his own local hospital was not equipped to perform the surgery needed to remove his tumor, so he began to save money in the hopes that he might one day be able to travel to the capital of Guinea. He hoped he would find help in removing the mass on his face.
One day, as Amadou sat in his clinic, people from his village came rushing in to tell him some exciting news. The man who spent his days helping others might finally be able to find help for himself on board a hospital ship docked in Conakry, Guinea.
“When I heard about the ship, I was the happiest man,” Amadou said. “I thought, if I get this surgery, I will be a patient ambassador and tell the world about Mercy Ships!”
A Well-Loved Doctor in his Community
Amadou made his way to the Africa Mercy – not to be saved, but to receive the help he needed to continue saving others. After a successful surgery on board by volunteer medical professionals, Amadou was cleared to go home. Upon his return, it became abundantly clear just how much he meant to his community, as hundreds gathered for his arrival. People dancing and singing lined the streets in celebration as his friends and family welcomed back their well-loved doctor.
“I cannot even begin to describe what this community means to me and how much I love them,” Amadou said. “I believe I love them even more than they seem to love me!”
The story of his healing traveled through his community and soon reached another in need. Soon after he’d returned home, a 37-year-old woman came into this clinic with a cleft lip. Immediately, Amadou traveled for over a day to bring her to nurses from the Africa Mercy, enabling her to receive the same life-changing surgery that he himself had found two months earlier.
Bringing Hope back to his Clinic
“Whilst at the ship I learned how they take care of their patients,” he said. “I wanted to bring this back to my own clinic.”
While waiting for the woman’s recovery, Amadou used his time to tell patients who were waiting for surgery that everything would be okay — that he was a walking testimony of the safe surgery performed on the ship.
True to his word, Amadou became the ship advocate that he promised he’d be! In the years since his surgery, he has continued serving his community and using his opportunity for healing to positively impact others, saying simply, “I won’t give up.”
To enable other patients like Amadou to have access to life-changing surgeries onboard a hospital ship, you can donate here or to discover other patient stories.