Sadia Abdinur has been shunned by neighbours in her African village who believe she has been possessed by the devil
A British surgeon has pledged to help a mum-of-two whose leg has swelled to a whopping FIVE STONE as a result elephantiasis.
Sadia Abdinur, 35, has been branded a witch and shunned from her community in Africa because locals believed she had been possessed by the Devil when her left leg swelled to the “size of an elephant’s”.
The debilitating condition has leaft her immobile and unable to feed her children, and her starving kids, Ayan, nine, and Ayub, seven, are now forced to wander the streets begging for scraps to keep their family alive.
The children, who have never been to school, even hug their mum goodbye each night believing she will be dead in the morning.
But now a British charity is trying to raise funds to fly Sadia to the UK so top vascular surgeon Professor Nigel Standfield can perform a 10 hour life-saving operation.
Surgeons in Nairobi, Kenya, refused to treat her because they do not have the expertise or facilities, but without treatment it is likely she will die prematurely if an infection occurs.
Sadia, whose first husband was shot dead in front of her by bandits, said: “Please save my life. I have been abandoned and the world is not within my reach.”
In 2006, Somali-born Sadia became ill after picking up an infection. Slowly her left leg began to swell and she now has severe lymphedema caused by “elephantiasis parasitic infection”.
The UK-based Alhidaya Charity found her abandoned and destitute after she was cast out by her community and decided to act to help her. They are now battling to get visas and passports so Sadia can be flown to the UK.
Prof Nigel Standfield, head of the London Postgraduate School of Surgery and Professor of Vascular Surgery and Surgical Education at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, has even offered to waive his fees to save her.
He said: “This very unfortunate lady has elephantiasis which is a neglected tropical disease and is a type of acquired lymphoedema caused by the lymphatics – which drain fluid from the tissues – becoming blocked by a parasitic worm.
“At this very late stage the tissues of the leg are fibrotic, scarred and far beyond treatment of the worm itself, which is now dead.
“I am an acknowledged expert in the management of lymphoedema and this is one of the most extreme cases I have seen. This lady must be virtually immobile.
“The operation to treat her is very complex and will take possibly 8-10 hours.
“It requires the most sophisticated management of blood and fluid loss and I respect the surgeons in Kenya for saying that they are unable to treat her.
“Without treatment she will die prematurely of overwhelming infection if cellulitis occurs.
“Eventually she will become completely immobile. Because this involves the whole length of her leg up to the groin, amputation is not an option and would not be possible.
“Excision with reconstruction and skin-grafting are required if anything is to be done to help this lady.”
The charity needs to raise at least £30,000 to fly Sadia to the UK, book a theatre and cover private care after the operation.
Shugri Hussein, trustee of Ahidaya International UK, has written to David Cameron and the Queen in a desperate bid to raise awareness.
He said: “If Sadia doesn’t get help soon she will die. Every day her life is becoming more and more difficult.
“On top of her debilitating condition, she’s ostracised in her local community where elders believe she’s possessed and a product of witch-craft.
“People think Sadia must have HIV or cancer. They call her the ‘evil woman’. There is such ignorance and we are trying everything we can to save this woman’s life.
“Sadia’s kids are confused too. They thought they would grow the same leg because it must be a genetic deformity.
“Sadia’s story really touched me and on the phone she could not stop bursting into tears.
“She begged me to call her twice every day to see if she was alive and to help her kids if the worst happens.
“I have done so ever since, and beg that people join me in resolving her ordeal.
“We’re calling on the British public to donate whatever they can to get Sadia the help she desperately needs.”