Bestmen was 3 years old when a bacterial infection struck him. Because his immune system was weakened by malnutrition, Bestmen’s body could not fight off the infection by itself; the penicillin that could have cured him was unavailable.
So the infection raged on. Known as the “flesh-eating disease,” it began to steal away the skin on Bestmen’s face.
The infection eventually subsided, but not before it heavily and permanently damaged Bestmen’s cheek, nose and mouth. Scar tissue made his jaw immobile and speech impossible. He was blinded in his right eye when the infection spread to his optic nerve.
Living in rural Liberia, Bestmen was hours away from medical care. He lived life being mocked for his disfigurement. But then, 15 years after the illness struck him, he heard about the Mercy Ship.
Bestmen received surgery to rebuild and unlock his jaw, and to reshape and recraft his face. After the first surgery – which took seven hours – a new Bestmen appeared. As he recovered, Bestmen became playful and animated, fully comfortable with all the attention he was getting. He’d always gotten attention, but this time it was different: He wanted to be seen.
Finally, Bestmen didn’t have to hide anymore.
Mercy Ships seeks to bring hope and healing to people such as Bestmen, who do not have access to the medical attention they need.