Gnilane first noticed the small lump on her face when she was 15 years old. At first, she didn’t think anything of it and figured it would go away. The young and carefree teenager continued with her studies, and after receiving her secondary school diploma, she went on to high school. However, as she continued to grow, so did the lump, and after four years, the tiny mass in her jaw had developed into a large tumour.
Gnilane had no other alternative than to have it removed; however, shortly after, the tumour began to re-emerge. At first, Gnilane did not lose heart, and she continued to work hard on pursuing her education. However, the tumour became so large and painful that it was affecting her ability to concentrate. As a result, Gnilane was forced to give up her studies.
“That decision was so difficult,” she said. “I didn’t want to abandon my studies, but I felt I had no choice.”
The passion she had for her education and her future, once so alive, now felt like a faraway dream. As the years passed, Gnilane eventually found work as a hairdresser and got married. Gnilane’s husband knew of his wife’s dreams and the obstacles that stood in her way of achieving them, so though he knew it would be expensive, he made an appointment at a hospital in Dakar for medical testing. With no medical insurance, the couple had to pay for the costs out of pocket.
After spending half a year’s wages on the medical tests, the next step was surgery, which was even more costly. At this point, they had hit a wall. The couple could not afford the surgery needed, but Gnilane refused to be discouraged.
“When I realized I wouldn’t be able to have surgery at that time, I told myself that maybe God just hadn’t scheduled my healing yet,” she said. “I still felt upset, but continued to thank God because I knew one day he would heal me.”
It was only a short while later that they received news from a friend that the Africa Mercy would be arriving in Dakar. After investigating Mercy Ships and seeing evidence of the healing that takes place onboard, Gnilane and her husband registered to be screened. When she was approved for surgery, the young woman traveled to the ship with her 10-month-old son and her mother, who would help care for the young boy while Gnilane recovered. After ten years of living with the large tumour, Gnilane was finally able to receive a chance to remove it for good!
While on the Africa Mercy, Gnilane began planning her future, saying, “I am looking forward to returning to school and restarting my studies—it’s the only thing I want.”
With the tumour finally gone, Gnilane’s passion for her future is back, and now she plans to return to school to pursue her new dream.
“This surgery is really changing my life,” she said. “I have a lot of dreams, including the one of being a doctor, thanks to Mercy Ships!”
Written by: Andrea Rosewicz (USA) and Claudie Laurent (FRA)
Edited By: Haley Hoar (USA) and Karis Johnson (USA)