MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – Shebonna is a 13-year-old from Uzbekistan who came to Memphis for life-saving treatment.
Memphis businessman and philanthropist Dan Patterson and his wife Christine met Shebonna at an orphanage on the other side of the planet, in Uzbekistan, 9,900 miles from Memphis, where Dan does business.
“When she was two, her parents orphaned her because they had no financial means or were afraid they wouldn’t be able to take care of her…and gave her to the state,” Patterson said.
Dan asked about the tumor on Shebonna’s face and was told there was nothing they could do.
“They said there’s nothing we can really do. We don’t think there’s any kind of treatment here in Uzbekistan,” Patterson said.
Dan arranged an MRI and sent Uzbek doctors to St. Jude in Memphis and no cancer was found.
“It is a benign tumor. The bad news is that it grows so fast that it can reach her brain in about two years. If the veins in her brain grow, she’ll probably have a stroke or aneurysm and die,” Patterson said. “So as an American, as a businessman there, as a person of faith, I really felt we had to do something,” Patterson said.
Three years ago, Uzbekistan invited Dan Patterson’s Memphis company, called Silverleafe, to help modernize and mechanize the agricultural industry.
Dan says this has led to all kinds of business opportunities, but none are closer to his heart than the surgery Shebonna will undergo this month at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
Dan says LeBonheur discounted the operation heavily, but A Go Fund Me was set up to cover the remaining $90,000.
“So we were able to invite friends, family and the community to participate in giving her this opportunity and saving her life and getting this opportunity with LeBonnheur,” Patterson said.
Shebonna will be here for the next four to six weeks. You could see that smile getting bigger thanks to the expert surgery of the doctors in Memphis and the magnanimous generosity Memphis is known for.
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