A South Florida organization is asking for the public's assistance in raising funds to help remove a dangerous growth from a Haitian infant.
Wideberla Pierre was born with the large mass under her left arm and side and was diagnosed with congenital lymphangioma, a malformation of the lymphatic vessels that produces an abnormal growth.
The Jackson Memorial Foundation's International Kids Fund Wonderfund is seeking to raise $95,000 for the surgery. Rosnie Michel, 30, appeared with her 7-month-old daughter at a news conference Tuesday.
Doctors in Haiti offered no course of treatment for the baby. Michel said through a translator that when her daughter was born, she realized she had an impairment, so she went to doctors in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, but they told her that the baby would not survive past two days.
But in March a stranger, Renend Achille, offered to help. When he was in Haiti visiting his family he heard Wideberla crying outside, and after seeing her he offered to help. In Miami, he showed pictures that he took to Anna Pierre, a nurse who used to work at Jackson.
"I know of the wonderful work the International Kids Fund is doing. So I took the pictures to the office and presented the case to them and sure enough they told me yes, we can help,” Pierre said.
Now the plan is for a team of surgeons to remove the growth, which is the size of a cantelope. It prevents Wideberla from crawling or reaching other key developmental infant stages. If the growth isn't removed, it will have an impact on her ability to stand and walk, and the lesion could cause a skin breakdown which could lead to an infection.
Before the surgery, doctors will seek to shrink Wideberla's cysts, plastic surgeon Dr. Morad Askari said.
Wideberla doesn't have medical insurance and her family can't afford the operation. And since she's not a U.S. resident, taxpayer money can't be used to fund her procedure.
Mother and daughter are staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and the International Kids Fund Wonderfund is hoping that the infant's treatment can start within the next couple of weeks.
Hundreds of needy children from around the world have received medical care through IKF Wonderfund. To donate call 1-877-IKF-KIDS (1-877-453-5437) or visit www.wonderfund.org.