|   Posted: March 04, 2020

A head injury left James suffering seizures several times a day. After 11 years and countless trips to the hospital, would Compassion be able to help restore his dream for the future?

Healed From Seizures

A head injury left James suffering seizures several times a day. After 11 years and countless trips to the hospital, would Compassion be able to help restore his dream for the future?

James with his parents

"It was raining that day, and I was washing my school uniform when I heard my friends calling for me. I stopped and ran toward them through a blue wooden door that used to lead to the back of our house. As I approached the door, I heard a bang and that is all that I remember."

As 5-year-old James ran through the door, a strong wind slammed it shut in his face. Unconscious, he fell, blood gushing from the left side of his head. Both his parents were away working on their farm in rural Tanzania. James lay there, helpless, until his friend found him and rushed to call his father.

“I came home and found him laying down unconscious with blood dripping from his head. I carried him and rushed to a clinic near our home,” says Stanslaus, James’ father. “When we arrived at the clinic, it took an hour for him to regain consciousness. That was the worst day of my life.”

Doctors cleaned and patched the cut on James’ head and sent him home. Stanslaus was relieved. He expected everything to be the same as before.

James sits on his porch
James buys vegetables at the market

Three days passed without incident. But then while at school, James suddenly fell and had his first of many seizures.

“I regained consciousness and found myself at the teachers’ lounge. There were teachers circled around me trying to perform an exorcism. They thought I was possessed. I was really embarrassed,” says James.

After he regained consciousness, his father took him back to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy. But the medication they gave him did not lessen his seizures, and soon he was having up to three seizures in a day.

“I tried to be around him as much as I could. I walked him to school and picked him up after. I wanted to be there in case he had a seizure. I remember one night he had a very bad seizure; I thought for sure he was going to die,” says Stanslaus.

Stanslaus consulted with the staff at the Compassion center where his son attended. Together, they decided to take James to another, larger hospital. There, he had his first MRI. According to the doctor, the hit to the head made James' brain unstable. He was given medication and again sent home. But James’ condition grew steadily worse.

James no longer had the simple joy of playing with his friends without the fear of having a seizure. His parents were on constant alert, always ready to rush to their son. It was a life filled with fear, even more so for his parents. James had come to terms with his illness, and the strength exuding from the young man was what gave his parents hope.

"Since the seizures started, there has not been a day that I felt sorry for myself or felt bad because I was sick. I knew it would pass, because God had seen me through other battles,” says James.

For over a decade, James battled and prayed — and every step of the way he knew he had his parents and the Compassion staff to support him. When he had his third MRI in 2018, the scan showed he had a cerebral polyp on his brain as a result of the trauma from the accident. James needed surgery — but none of the hospitals in the country were equipped to do it.

“The neurosurgeon who diagnosed James told us we had to travel to India for surgery,” says Stanslaus. “I did not have the money to take James there, but I was not worried. Since James got sick, it was the church that had been paying for his trips to the hospital.”

Through Compassion's Critical Interventions fund, the local church received the U.S. $26,598 needed for James’ life-changing treatment.

James sits with his father

On Dec. 15, 2018, when he was 16 years old, James and his father traveled to India where James had brain surgery four days later.

“When James woke up from the surgery, I was with him in the room. He opened his eyes looked at me and called to me. I was very happy. I looked up and thanked God,” says Stanslaus.

Before he was discharged, James stayed at the hospital for over a month. He was recovering from temporary paralysis as a result of the surgery.

In January 2019, James returned to Tanzania. At the time he had not yet completely regained full function in his left arm and leg. But day by day, through physiotherapy exercises, James was able to walk and do small chores at home.

The now 17-year-old has returned to school and is pursuing his lifelong dream.

“I know I was meant to be a doctor, and I know God will help me become one,” James says.

Would you be willing to help children like James? Learn more about providing life-changing medical care through Compassion's Medical Fund.