By the time the surgeon repairs Anderson Mambwe's severely deformed feet Friday, the 17-year-old Zambian boy already will have traversed a vast landscape of pain. His feet were so misshapen that the best that Congo doctors could offer him was to amputate both legs above the knee. Roanoke nurse Karen ReMine, co-founder of a medical mission called Orphan Medical Network International, spoke to Roanoke podiatrist Dr. Chuck Zelen, who agreed "sight unseen" to donate the series of surgeries it would take to get the boy walking comfortably again.
"When he arrived, he was barely able to walk at all," said Zelen, the podiatrist. But the upcoming surgeries will reduce his feet to a size 12, giving him a more normal gait. "I hope that it may alleviate some of his shyness and enable him to assimilate better into his community," Zelen said. "He just wants to go to school and not look like he's sick."