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Mercy Ships Recognizes International Day of Disabled Persons
Date:12/2/2008

As the International Day of Disabled Persons is recognized on Dec. 3, Mercy Ships celebrates with the story of a young boy born with backwards pointing feet. After free surgeries onboard the Africa Mercy, a floating hospital docked in Liberia, Benedict's feet are corrected now and he can run and play with the other children his age. High resolution photos and video can be downloaded at www.mercyshipsnewsroom.org

Garden Valley, TX (Vocus) December 2, 2008 -- Eleven-year-old Benedict Menkoah has always stood on his own two feet -- even though they pointed backwards.

He probably doesn't know that today the world promotes issues surrounding disability, that it's the 60th anniversary of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or that his story is an encouragement to others around the world. What he does know is that now, thanks to several free surgeries onboard a Mercy Ship, he can run with his feet facing forward.

"I am able to walk now," Benedict says. "I want to go to school. I can play football. I can play with friends." He is also accepted by his extended family for the first time in many years, allowed back home because he is now "able." As he scurries up a tree to show how easy it is to climb, Benedict adds confidently, "I want to be a doctor." With no money to send his son to school, his father can only hope.

As one of 16 children growing up in rural Liberia, Benedict's bi-lateral clubbed feet were a disfigurement and burden that some family members could not bear. Only an older sister who was a teacher and saw how Benedict himself refused to surrender to his handicap, continued to hope that her little brother's
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Mercy Ships Recognizes International Day of Disabled Persons
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