My name is Dorothy Animah Anning and I am a 24 year old Ghanaian. I have a wonderful family. We are from the Asante tribe in the Akan ethnicity. My father is Rev. Charles Owusu Anning, a Pastor of The Church of Pentecost who graduated from Pentecost University College and has been a Minister in our church for sixteen years. My mother is Mrs. Comfort Owusu Anning who has two children. My brother is called Blankson Appiah Anning, an Elder of The Church of Pentecost. Our family is presently stationed at Techiman Aworowa in the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana.
I developed a tumor between the age of 5 and 6 which pushed out my right eye and skull. After noticing a slight increase in the size of my right eye, my parents got concerned and took me to many hospitals in Ghana. None of them could diagnose the type of tumor, so I had to live with it. As I grew and advanced in age, the tumor increased in size. I looked like my eye was going to fall out. We continued visiting hospitals, costing my parents a lot of money.
The tumor caused me no pain and I was able to do every activity of a normal child, including going to school and engaging in sports. I was quite brilliant in everything. During school exams, I always placed first in all of my classes, from Primary to Junior High school. But my daily unbearable pain was the attitude of people towards me. Being scared of me was understandable, but pointing fingers at me, running away or screaming upon seeing me, and laughing at me was so hurtful. No one wanted to sit beside me in a public transport, most children didn’t want to associate with me, and some parents thought their children might contract the disease from me. I had to cover my face or bend my head to walk in public, sometimes nearly getting hit by a car. All of this made each day end in tears – my parents consoled me by telling me that God will set things right someday.
Tables turned when Apostle Dr. Alfred Koduah, who was then general secretary of The Church of Pentecost, introduced me to his friend Dr. Wiafe Boateng, a renowned ophthalmologist in Ghana. Upon his examination, he notified me that I had a cranial tumor and connected me to Children’s Cross Connection International. With their help and The Church of Pentecost, I was taken for surgery in April 2008 at the age of 14 years alongside my mother to Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. I underwent a series of surgeries and my tumor was completely removed, including my deformed right skull by neurosurgeon Dr. James Robinson. Plastic surgery, with an implant of a new right skull, was also done by Dr. Fazhid Nahai at Piedmont Hospital. From then, my goal was to become a great doctor like my inspiration, Dr. Robinson.
I just completed a four year degree program to become Physician Assistant this year at the Presbyterian University College in Ghana. After completing Senior High School, I needed financial support on top of what my parents can provide to see me through medical school. I contacted Dr. James Robinson, my surgeon who operated on me in 2008, and he told me he could help. He then contacted Shelly Dollar at Making the Grade, and together they sponsored me with partial payment of my tuition every year for my four-year Physician Assistant program. Their financial and emotional support included paying my tuition, monitoring my academic performance, encouraging and advising me on how to make better grades, as well as prayers and motivation. My dream is to obtain a doctorate degree in medicine and practice abroad. With that experience, I can then come back to Ghana and open up my own hospital to help those in need.
I want to thank my parents Rev. Charles Owusu Anning and Mrs. Comfort Owusu Anning, Dr. James Robinson, Shelly Dollar and the entire board of Making the Grade, Lorna King and friends, Children’s Cross Connection International, Apostle Alfred Koduah and The Church of Pentecost nationwide, as well as everyone who helped me. God bless you all.
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