President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday demonstrated her humanitarian attribute when she took time out of her busy schedule to meet with Sackie Nyanquoi, the young Liberian man who was severely burned two years ago when armed robbers wasted raw acid water on his face and body.
The meeting came ahead of Sackie’s trip to the United States for pro bono reconstructive surgery at Shriners Hosiptl for children in Massachusetts. He was accompanied his mother, Satta Tamba. The President presented the family with a “small purse” for incidentals and promised to follow his case, monitor his progress, and to render whatever support was needed.
Welcoming Sackie Nyanquoi and his mother to her Executive Mansion Office, the President said that his story had been brought to public notice: the attempted robbery in his home, and the robbers throwing acid on him when he went to pick up a cutlass to help his father; being taken to the JFK Medical Center where Dr. Robert Dennis tried to treat him; and where another doctor, Jim Tomarken, a consultant at JFK, interceded on Sackie’s behalf and was able to get the hospital in Massachusetts to treat him.
“We are just so pleased for that, and we’ll follow his progress,” the President said. “His mother will be accompanying him, and we’re just thankful to Dr. Tomarken and all those who have been helping with Sackie’s case, so that he can be normal again.”
What happened was so bad, the President continued. She was aware that somebody had called for a ban on acid. That was being considered. “So, Sackie, we say sorry, but we’re thankful to God that you have people who have come to your aid and who will be able to help you.”
The President then gave Sackie a “small purse”, which he handed to his mother, and promised to follow his case. “You’ll be in hospital there, but you won’t be far from us, through the telephone, through email, through our Embassy and our other offices. We’ll monitor your progress, and anything we can do to give support to you, you can count on us to do it.”
Responding, Sackie said he was happy to meet the President. He said that, following his surgery, he wanted to go to school in order to help others in the future. He wanted to become a plastic surgeon to help not only those who had acid spilled on them, but also people with other problems.
He needed support to go to school and become a plastic surgeon in order to help others. The President liked what he said and promised to give him that support. Sackie’s mother, Satta Tamba, thanked the President for her concern for her son. She had tried many ways to contact her, and appreciated that it had happened.
When the reporters departed, the President informed Mrs. Tamba how to contact her office concerning her son’s prescriptions. She recounted the tragedy that had befallen her family on her birthday, April 17, 2008, and expressed thanks to the many people who had helped them, including the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Binyah Kesselly, who paid for their tickets.
The President instructed her staff to make arrangements for transportation to the airport on Wednesday, and for Sackie and his mother to be met at the airports in Brussels and New York and to render whatever assistance they required en route to Boston.
Sackie Nyanquoi, an 18-year-old student at the Don Bosco Technical High School, will undergo surgery at Shriners Hospital in Boston, part of a network of 22 pediatric non-profit hospitals spread across North America. A massive campaign by media houses, spearheaded by FrontPage Africa, and various individuals made the trip possible.
Following the armed attack in April 2008, Sackie sought immediate medical attention at the JFK Hospital, undergoing six different surgical procedures, four of them performed by Dr. Dennis and two by Dr. Peter Coleman.