Written by Juan Camilo; edited by Sarah Bartley
We like to say all World Vision child sponsors are like guardian angels, but sponsor Soraya quite literally saved the life of her sponsored child, Maria.
Soraya began sponsoring Maria when she was four years old. Many sponsors like to visit their sponsored children, and Soraya was no different. After writing letters back and forth for several months, she jumped at the opportunity to visit Maria’s hometown.
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Upon meeting Maria, Soraya noticed that she looked unwell – she was very thin, seemed lethargic, was covered in spots and had trouble speaking. Clementina, Maria’s grandmother and primary caregiver, was convinced it was a hereditary allergy and treated her the best she could.
To be on the safe side, Soraya notified World Vision to see what resources were available for little Maria. World Vision staff went to check on her to see for themselves and referred her to a health centre affiliated with the local University. After several tests, it was discovered that Maria had a brain tumor that required an emergency operation.
Soraya and another sponsor teamed up to donate, and World Vision helped to help cover the cost of the surgery. It was a success.
“World Vision provided the best to my girl. This process was so difficult and the disease, so serious. We thought she might need a second operation, but thank God this was not necessary,” says Clementina.
Maria is back to being a regular kid after recovering from surgery. Photo: World Vision
Maria still needs regular check-ups and is on medication but her health is stable. Soraya has been able to visit her since her recovery. "She’s a completely different girl from the one that I met a year ago. Now she runs, jumps and plays. I am happy to see her well," says Soraya.
The girl and her sponsor became great friends and they still write letters to each other frequently. They are forever bonded because of their shared experience. “Maria brought us joy and showed us it’s possible to love someone like family even when you’re not related,” says Soraya.
This is just one of the many stories of transformation that World Vision sees in the lives of children and their brave and caring sponsors.