Thus began a journey of healing. Over the past two years, a team of surgeons inspired by Dr. Joel Berger, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon; and Drs. Thomas Vecchione and James Chao, plastic surgeons, donated their time and expertise to rebuild Blessing’s face. Several surgeries and procedures were performed to repair the complex damage. The most critical procedure was the removal of his left fibula in his lower leg, which Sharp Memorial surgeons reshaped into a new jaw. To be successful, the team had to work around blood vessels as thin as a pen stroke. Any damage to the vessels could have stopped vital blood-flow to the bone. The operation took 15 hours. After the surgery to reshape his jaw, Blessing underwent procedures to repair the skin and other soft tissue around his mouth. Earlier this year, he received a set of dental implants and bit into an apple for the first time in nearly a decade. Blessing’s response—he smiled as others in the room dried their eyes.
The unimaginable is now a reality. Blessing is now 21 years old and can laugh, speak and eat, and most of all, carry on as a young man with a bright future. This November, Blessing will return to San Diego for Sharp’s “All-Staff Assembly,” an annual event during which employees recommit to the organization’s mission. During this evening, Blessing will stand in front of more than 20,000 employees, volunteers, media and affiliated physicians to be honored for his bravery, perseverance, and grace. Blessing has also been featured on CNN’s Inside Africa hosted by Isha Sesay.
There are many highs and lows to Blessing’s incredible journey. Blessing expressed his emotions that included so much trauma and recovery.
“I believe I was chosen to have this accident. It may be hard to understand, but because I am able to share my story, I will help others who are going through similar situations. It was all meant to be.”Blessing Makwera