A star soccer player in Sierra Leone, Allieu Kanu was badly hurt during an important game in 2006. As he was carried off the field in agony, Allieu was convinced his knee had been permanently torn apart. He sought treatment at EMERGENCY’s hospital in Goderich, which has provided surgical care to people in Sierra Leone since the civil war, and now serves as the trauma referral center for the country. Access to surgical care in Sierra Leone is extremely limited, with as many as 1 in 4 deaths thought to preventable by increased access to surgical services.
Reflecting on his experience from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he now lives with his wife and children, Mr. Kanu feared he might have to undergo surgery. He put his faith in EMERGENCY’s doctors and nurses “because everybody in Sierra Leone knows about the hospital and how well they treat people at no charge.”
“My experience with EMERGENCY was fantastic,” according to Mr. Kanu. “They examined me immediately and told me my knee was twisted and could be repaired.” A temporary cast was applied and Mr. Kanu spent the next five days undergoing evaluations while the swelling decreased.
During his stay at EMERGENCY, Mr. Kanu wrote a poem in honor of the hospital, praising the doctors and staff for taking such good care of him. “It’s a great help not only in Sierra Leone, but in the whole world,” Mr. Kanu told the staff of EMERGENCY during a public ceremony.
“I can’t play soccer any more,” Mr. Kanu said, “but I can work” and he has proved it with a new life in the United States.
On a visit to the US he met his future wife, LuLu Bangura, and has now lived in the US since July 2012. The Kanus have two-year-old twins and a new baby expected in October. Unfortunately, one of the twins was born with serious health issues but they now have good health insurance through Mr. Kanu’s current job.
Mr. Kanu started work in the US at a restaurant chain, and was later referred by a customer to a job with the Montgomery County Public School system. He was recently promoted to Assistant Manager for a local elementary school, and dreams of going back to school to get a scholarship to study computer science. He and his wife recently purchased a five-bedroom house for their growing family. “We just got a key to the house,” Mr. Kanu says, “and we move in at the end of June.”
About his experience at EMERGENCY in Sierra Leon and his new life in the US, Mr. Kanu says, “God is good.”