Brought back from the brink of death

Lawson was facing starvation because of tumour growing in his mouth. That was until he came to the Africa Mercy.

His gentle eyes betrayed his desperate hope. „I came here so I could get help,“ said Lawson, struggling to speak clearly. A large growth stretched his mouth and cheeks horribly, causing his teeth to stick out in all directions. It had been growing for four years, inhibiting his breathing, eating, and speech - and, eventually, his ability to work.

The tumour destroyed his life, separating him from everyone and everything he loved. The people in his village would not sell him food because they said he was a devil. His wife left him, leaving behind their three children. Without work or food, he could not provide for his family.

Then, a radio announcement said that a hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, would soon be coming to Togo, offering operations free of charge. Daring to hope, Lawson left his children in his mother’s care and went to the patient screening.

Lawson was literally at the brink of death as the tumour slowly suffocated him. He was immediately admitted to the hospital ship, with surgery the next day. It took three doctors eight hours to remove the benign growth and repair his nose, upper lip, and cheek. The large amount of blood required during surgery was donated by crew members.

Lawson was overjoyed when he touched the bandages on his cheek - the tumour was gone! There will be more operations within the next year to complete the reconstruction of his face, but the immediate result has saved and restored his life.

Unable to hold back tears of joy, a delighted Lawson exclaimed, „I can’t believe what has happened to me. It is a miracle! My way was crooked, but now my way is straight. I am now whole again!“

Lawson can hardly wait to surprise his family with his transformation. He is anxious to eat real food again - especially his mother’s ademe, a stew made with legumes, fish and red oil. Then he will think about starting his new life.

He has photos of what he looked like before surgery and after. „I want to show pictures to everybody, so people can see what Mercy Ships did for me. Everybody who sees me, they will be surprised,“ he grinned. „I survived! Hallelujah!“