Tresor is a ten-year-old boy with an explosive laugh. He’s a cheeky prankster with a competitive spirit, and he’s completely unafraid to speak his mind. He’s the kind of child you’d call unstoppable.
But Tresor’s childhood took an unexpected turn when he was just three years old — he was playing outside with his friends when he was accidentally pushed into an open fire.
“There was nobody in the kitchen watching over him. He wasn’t crying out loud, so no one knew what happened. The fire kept burning him. A long time later, my sister discovered him, lying like that,” recounted Tresor’s mother, Mary.
The flames burned much of Tresor’s small body, leaving him with wounds along his upper body and face that would eventually fade into rigid scars. The burns on his arm were the injuries that truly left their mark on his young life. Without proper medical care, his wounds healed incorrectly, causing a contracture that locked his elbow into place, costing him the use of his arm and hand.
Seven years after his accident, Mary heard about the Africa Mercy’s arrival in Cameroon and brought Tresor to receive surgery. It was the answer to a prayer they had both echoed for years: for Tresor to one day regain the use of his arm.
He received surgery on board, which removed the dense scar tissue surrounding his elbow, replacing it with skin grafts that allowed him to stretch out his arm. The surgical team also operated on his hand to give him optimum mobility in his fingers.
The road to recovery stretched ahead for Tresor. Before physiotherapy could begin, he had to patiently wait for his wounds to heal. But it didn’t take long for Tresor’s characteristic energy and cheer to return, and it was a common sight to see him tearing around the wards or wildly careening around Deck 7 on his tricycle.
His ultimate dream is to become a mechanic when he grows up. “Since the first time he saw mechanics at work, he told me, ‘This is what I want to do,’” said Mary Magdalene. “He would say, ‘Mummy, I pray we’ll have the money to have my arm straightened.’”
Now, with his arm healed and his mobility restored, Tresor is free to pursue his dreams with open arms.