For years now, every time one of our Pacific Islands Medical Aid team would visit Christmas Island in Kiribati, we would encounter Iokabwa. a little boy who walks on his knees.
He would move about sometimes while sliding on the ground on pieces of cardboard, a task made much more difficult because his hands and wrists were turned inward, a condition he was born with.
Iokabwa’s mother has appealed to us over the years for help. We recorded his condition and consulted with many orthopedic surgeons and others… to no avail.
We encouraged members of Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu, and its leader, Dr. Craig Ono, to visit the island and examine patients who might be helped by them.
Dr. Ono believed then that Iokabwa could be helped and held out hope that with proper care, he could walk upright. Hand surgeries, too, could help.
Iokabwa has now been through several surgeries at Shriners Hospital, with emphasis first on his hands. Surgeries underway now are concentrating on his legs, where surgeons there believe he will be able to stand upright soon.
“It’s a miracle,” his mother says.
We are enormously grateful to the wonderful people at Shriners Hospital in Honolulu for Iokabwa and other children from the central Pacific island nation of Kiribati who they have helped, says Carlton Smith, PIMA president.
Under an agreement made three years ago, Shriners provides all medical care, the Kiribati Ministry of Health provides round trip airfare and we at Pacific Islands Medical Aid pay for local housing, meals and transportation when needed, provided by a wonderful couple in Hawaii, Rerei and Kaitibo Timon.
Please help us continue to support this great program, Carlton said.