Sarah Conque,a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist from Louisiana. The 28-year-old discovered her passion for helping children with special needs during a missionary trip to Haiti at the time of her school graduation. She moved to Haiti for missionary work just after completing her masters degree in 2013. It was those precious two years that changed Sarah’s life forever.
Sarah was working as a recreation therapist at Danita’s Children Medical Center in northeast Haiti. In January 2014, a young woman holding a 3-month-old baby girl was referred to Sarah. The young woman introduced herself as baby’s aunt. The baby named Nika was suffering from hydrocephalus, a disorder that causes head to swell due to the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. She was severely malnourished and needed immediate medical attention. Sarah assured the young lady that she would help her find and access all the resources possible to save the baby.
Sarah was able to get Nika access to a hospital in Port Au Prince with a program for children with hydrocephalus. After ten hours of journey and a week of procedures, Nika became the one in few children who were selected to receive the life changing surgery. In March 2014, the 5-months-old Nika underwent a surgery by placing a shunt in her brain to drain the fluid. After two months, the hospital staffs informed Sara that the young woman abandoned Nika at the hospital. Sarah contacted her many times and she returned after a few days for the baby. Then Sarah learned that the young lady was indeed Nika’s mother. She also realized that the mother was ashamed of taking Nika out to the public and would hide her with a blanket.
In the following months, Sarah spend countless hours pleading with Nika’s mother to bring her daughter to appointments and special programs to improve her health. But the lady did not consistently bring her baby in each week. Sarah realized that it is not because of the condition that Nika was malnourished, but only due to the negligence of her mother. Sarah also discovered that Nika’s mother had been a prostitute and Nika’s condition might be the result of ingested poisions used to abort her. In August 2014, Sarah visited Nika’s house followed by a desperate search to find the precious baby and her mother. She was shocked to find baby Nika completely alone inside the home lying on a rice sack and surrounded by garbage. The eleven-months-old baby just weighed six pounds including the built-up fluid in the head.
Sarah realized that it was the time to remove Nika from the terrible situation. In the very next day, Sarah asked the president of Danita’s Children if they could take Nika into their orphanage. He agreed and Nika’s mother was happy to sent her baby with Sarah. Nika, the little girl was fighting to live. Her internal organs were about to shut down and had serious malnutrition problems. Doctors concluded Nika would die at any moment. Sarah and a missionary started praying for Nika’s life. They witnessed a miracle in the next morning, Nika’s internal organs started to work again, but still the little girl had to overcome many challenges. Nika was taken to one of the best hospitals to get a VP shunt surgery, where they found Nika had actually hydranencephaly. A condition in which most part of the brain is missing and the remaining cranial cavity is filled with cerebrospinal fluid. Babies born with this condition would probably die before they turn one.
Nika’s condition began to get worse. She was rejected from the top malnutrition clinics in Haiti. However, God sent another kindness to Nika, a healthcare professional from America reached Haiti to help the malnourished baby to receive the life saving nutrition by placing a feeding tube. Gradually, Nika began to gain weight and showed a noticeable progress in her health. Sarah resigned her job and became the full time caretaker of baby Nika. By February 2015, Sarah became the official guardian of Nika. They moved to America and Nika had a life saving surgery on 27th may 2015, which drastically improved her quality of life. It reduced her head size and helped to gain more weight. Since then, baby Nika has been proving that she is a miracle. Nika is now 2-years-old continues to defy the odds and make unbelievable progress under the wings of a loving family.
This beautiful girl was born to a prostitute. She was abandoned and neglected by her own mother. But the love and kindness of a stranger completely changed her life forever.