Haitian girl treated at Montreal Shriners is finally going home

After two years of treatment in Montreal, doctors at the Shriners Hospital for Children have announced Waina Dorcelus, a young girl from Haiti whose leg was decimated by infection, should be home in time for Christmas.

Local journalist Sue Montgomery sponsored Waina Dorcelus and her mom for 2 years while Waina was being treated

Local journalist Sue Montgomery has been sponsoring Waina Dorcelus, a girl from Haiti, for two years. Doctors say Waina, who is in Montreal getting treatment for a bone infection, will be able to go home by Christmas. (Submitted by Sue Montgomery)

After two years of being poked, prodded, X-rayed and operated on, Waina Dorcelus is finally going home.

"I'm really happy because my leg is healed." six-year-old Waina said. "I'm proud of myself and proud of everyone helping me."

Waina suffered from a bone infection that destroyed most of her left tibia as a toddler and left her unable to walk.

After a slew of unsuccessful surgeries back home, the only option left was to amputate her leg. But it was a solution that her mother Nini Dorcelus wouldn't accept.
Nini Dorcelus with her daughter Waina, in 2014. Nini refused to let doctors in Haiti amputate her daughter's leg. (CBC)

"I'm so pleased and cried a lot because before I was depressed about my daughter," said Nini Dorcelus.

The Shriners Hospital for Children in Montreal agreed with Waina's mother and offered to treat the girl free of charge. She arrived in Montreal in July 2014. 

And now, the most difficult part is over. Doctors at the hospital recently announced her last surgery was successful and Waina, who is now 6, should be back in Haiti in time for Christmas.

"I've never seen a kid with so much resilience," said Sue Montgomery, the local journalist who hosted Waina and her mom throughout the entire process.

"I think I've seen her cry twice the whole time she's been here," she said.

Waina Dorcelus has undergone at least 16 surgeries in her short life. (Submitted by Sue Montgomery)

'A wonderful thing to do'

When Montgomery was initially approached by contacts in Haiti to help the Dorcelus family, she was told that the sponsorship wouldn't last more than a few weeks.

After signing the papers, she was informed by the doctors at Shriners that it would be at least two years before Waina was well enough to head home.

The infection ate away at Waina's left tibia. Now, not only is she walking, she can run and hop, Montgomery said.

"She's all over the place and she's super happy."

When Waina first arrived in Canada, her tibia had been eaten away completely and she was in a cast up to her hip. (CBC)
While the length of her stay came as a surprise, Montgomery is still an advocate of the sponsorship program.

"I think it's a wonderful thing to do. You give a child a chance to have a normal life. The first time she walked without this metal thing on her leg was really quite moving," she said.

But, she warned, it's a commitment.

"There are times when it's not easy and frustrating and time consuming, but I think we're very fortunate here in Canada and if we can share that with other people that are less fortunate then it's wonderful."

With files from Neil Herland