Football-loving Alexandre can get back to doing what he loves

April 2019

"It was my first time to go on a plane!" Teenager Alexandre tells us what it was like to undergo cataract treatment aboard the Flying Eye Hospital – and why having the surgery was so important for him and his family.

15-year-old Alexandre, who is from Yaounde in Cameroon, was a little embarrassed when he first noticed the white spot in his left eye that would go on to cause him a lot of pain and discomfort.

“When I started seeing a spot in my eye I was feeling very strange, and everyone started realising it so I was just feeling awkward,” he told us.

As a result Alexandre didn't initially tell his family about the problems he was having and it wasn't until his mother was helping him study one day after school that she realised something was wrong. When Alexandre told her he couldn’t see, she took him to see a doctor at Yaounde Central Hospital. There, Alexandre was diagnosed with a cataract in his left eye.

Alexandre, 15, had a cataract in his left eye

Fortunately for Alexandre and his family, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital was due to arrive in Yaounde shortly after his initial diagnosis and Alexandre was able to receive the operation he needed free of charge.

The promise of free surgery was a relief for his mother, who usually works as a seamstress but was then taking time off to look after Alexandre's seven-month-old sister. His father, an engineer, was out of work and so money was tight.

Alexandre was nervous before his treatment, but the idea of being operated on onboard a plane seems to have helped, as he told us:

I was a little bit afraid – but it passed! I was very happy actually – it was my first time to go on a plane! The doctors and the nurses were kind.

Alexandre

talking about his treatment onboard the Flying Eye Hospital

Flying Eye Hospital In Barbados.

Alexandre underwent his surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital

Alexandre's surgery went extremely well. Before he really couldn’t see, but now he is much improved. Dr Omar Salamanca, the FEH staff ophthalmologist who conducted Alexandre’s follow-up, was very pleased with the outcome; as is Alexandre: “Now I am feeling fine, because it went well and I don’t have any pains.”

Alexandre leaves the Flying Eye Hospital after his treatment

The surgery will make a real difference for Alexandre, particularly in school. He is in form 4 at a bilingual school, and he enjoys studying. “I like French – I love increasing my vocabulary. I don’t know what I want to do after school yet!” But like most fifteen year olds, school isn’t his only focus – although he is very keen on his studies:

Outside of school – I like playing football and basketball. I like Barcelona, because my favourite players are there. During the school work I don’t have a lot of time to play with friends, and on the weekend I have to catch up with house chores. I love watching movies. My favourite TV show is 24 – Jack Bauer.

Alexandre

talking about his favourite activities

The surgery also meant a lot to Alexandre's mother, who was quick to thank Orbis and the Flying Eye Hospital team for saving her son's sight. She told us:

...it’s like a miracle. I thank God for it. It happened that Orbis came at a time of need. I had a child who could not see, could not study in school, and with the financial situation that the family is going through… and then I heard of Orbis coming – Orbis is what God sent for me. Thank you very much.”

Alexandre's mother

Help us to help more children like Alexandre

As part of our See My Future appeal, all public donations made before 23rd June 2019 will be doubled by the UK government. Give today and your money will go twice as far towards helping children like Alexandre build a brighter future.

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