Just when she thought all was lost, an angel came. Two weeks ago, Donata Claymon was a hopeless girl suffering from a serious skin condition. Her mother had spent over a year trying to get her treated.
Donata was last year withdrawn from school after teachers said her skin disease was a risk to other pupils. That only added pangs to the pain she was swimming in. Not one of her body parts was spared by blisters and puss was more visible on her skin than the skin itself.
“She couldnâ€™t even wear a dress. If she did, the dress would cling to the blisters and she would shriek in pain. Not even slippers would pass,” narrated Christina Fabiano, Donataâ€™s mother.
Now, though, the girl can look forward to a life of dignity and hope after Capital Oil Refining Industries Limited came to her rescue.
“When we saw the story of the girl, management instructed me to at all costs make sure that the girl gets attention,” said John Damson, human resources manager for the company well known for Kukoma cooking oil.
Damson said the company then whisked the girl to the Leprosy Relief Association (Lepra) wing at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre where she was admitted to on Tuesday.
“We facilitated getting her into hospital and gave her some finances to get by on. If the ward were a paying one, we would have paid,” said Damson.
Fast forward to last Friday, the girl is looking way better. The mother is convinced that the influence of the company made her access the best care available because she said she had come to QECH before, but never got any skin-changing help.
Donata could manage to flash a smile; she did not scratch herself the whole time of the interview and she is in a dress and slippers while the blisters have receded into her skin.
A chunk of her skin has been yanked away by the doctors for analysis and by Thursday, doctors have promised Donataâ€™s mother that they will tell her what disease she has.
“I am happy that Kukoma came to our rescue. I never had the resources to go to private hospitals,” said Christina.
Donata is 15 years old, but to many she would pass for an eight-year-old girl. Her mother says Donata has had stunted growth.
Some 15-year olds are in university while Donata is only in Standard Three and, unlucky for her, next year she will still be in Standard Three like she was last year before being chased away from Nyungwi Primary School in Chiradzulu because of the condition.
Christina laid out the hurdles she has been through trying to normalise her daughterâ€™s skin condition without success. She has been to many hospitals.
In fact, she was on board a minibus ferrying Donata to a hospital when Nation on Sundayâ€™s James Chimpweya caught up with her and appealed for support in The Nation by publishing her photo.