Twenty years after being left disabled by a gun shot wound sustained during the Ethiopian Civil War, 23 year-old Demen Bekele will, this month, receive a new hip thanks to the generosity of London-based Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Howard Ware and the medical team at BMI The Kings Oak Hospital in Enfield.
Demen was just four years old when in 1991 her mother and father were killed and she was left disabled by a gun shot wound that fractured her hip and damaged the sciatic nerve in her leg. While Demen survived the attack, her fractured hip and damaged nerve meant that she grew up suffering from arthritis, causing severe pain and reduced mobility. Orphaned and raised with a disability in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Demen didn’t give up on life but instead focused on progressing her education with the hope that she would be able to build a brighter future for herself.
However, because of her disability and the chronic pain suffered as a result of her arthritis Demen had to frequently take absences from her education. Despite this, with the help of her teachers, Demen successfully completed her school education in 2003 and went on to train as laboratory technician at Bethel General Hospital College and received an honours certificate for her course in 2008.
Following her graduation Demen found it very difficult to find employment. That was until 2009 when she was offered the position of laboratory assistant at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. During her employment at the hospital, Demen’s hard work and dedication quickly came to the attention of her colleagues and the Hospital’s Medical Director Professor Williams.
“Demen, throughout her life, has proved that in spite what life has thrown at her she has a strong will to succeed,” Professor Williams commented. “Growing up as an orphan in Ethiopia is hard enough without a disability, but Demen never moans or complains about her upbringing. In fact she always comes to work with a smile on her face and is a pleasure to work with. Demen has already achieved so much in her life and I’ve no doubt that her parents would be extremely proud of her.”
After learning about Demen’s past troubles, Professor Williams and her colleagues at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital decided they would pull together financially and support her in getting a hip replacement to dramatically improve her mobility and end her years of pain. Looking to a consultant who he had helped train in the 1980s at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, Professor Williams turned to Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Howard Ware, who practices at The Kings Oak Hospital in London.
“Initially Professor Williams came to me looking for a cost for Demen’s hip replacement, the price of which would have been several thousand pounds. However, after hearing about her inspiring story and discovering the achievements she had already made with her career despite her setbacks I offered to perform her operation for free.”