Zama spent a little more than 16 months staying in our Respite Unit, making her by far and away the longest-term patient we’ve ever had. When she came to us she had TB of the spine, which subsequently paralyzed her from the waist down and confined her to a wheelchair. She also battled uterine cancer and suffered from terrible and painful bedsores. Through all of this Zama was also using her grants to support her 3 children, one of whom had a stroke at age 2 and needs extra care, her 2 siblings, and her mother, most of whom were living in the same small, poorly ventilated, two bedroom house. Over the course of her stay, all but one of Zama’s bedsores healed completely, and the remaining one improved significantly since her arrival.
Many patients would (understandably) become extremely frustrated and restless during such a long period of stay, but even though Zama certainly had her low points, you could almost always count on her for a smile or a warm greeting. She has an unbelievable and inspiring spirit and she formed friendships with numerous other patients who came to stay in the unit while she was there, as well as with many of the caretakers and staff. She is the definition of a fighter, and despite the various infections and diseases that coursed through her body during those months, her will and determination overcame them in the end. Towards the end of October 2012, almost a year and a half after her arrival, Zama was finally discharged and was able to move back in with her family, where she can see her mom and her sons every day. We are so thrilled for her and know that her spirit and strength will enable her to overcome any future challenges that life may throw her way.