“I have seen her have such courage. She’s honestly a ray of light in the way she just takes on every day, she has been an inspiration to children and adults alike.”
I am calling on you on behalf of the Drame family and New Prospect Baptist Church to secure resources to help aid in providing a great quality of life for Zainabou Drame. Zainabou Drame, was 7 years old when she was attacked by two pit bulls a year and severely injured.
The injuries she suffered in the June 2014 attack were devastating: She lost her tongue, most of her teeth and a third of her jaw bone. Her face was ripped apart and had to be reconstructed. She has undergone at least a dozen surgeries. And more await. A year and a half later Zainabou – as best she can – tries to live as if the incident never happened.
For Zainabou, each day is a challenge
She eats and drinks through a feeding tube into her stomach. Another tube in her throat helps her breathe. She can’t open her mouth. Her father, Abdoulaye, said she will almost certainly need the feeding tube for the rest of her life.
At night, she has to be hooked up to a breathing machine.
The act of sneezing can be dangerous because it can clog her breathing tube. The family has a suction device to clear that out.
She also must endure people staring at her reconstructed face and scars – even as she doesn’t remember the attack, itself. She will turn away or hide.
Still, her father, Abdoulaye, hopes for a normal life for his daughter.
“I pray to God every day that she get(s) back to (a) normal life, like everybody,” he said.
Despite the progress she’s made, communicating remains difficult. There are times her father, mother or three siblings don’t understand what she’s trying to say.
That can bring her to tears.
Zainabou is learning sign language. She also has a computer tablet she can use to communicate.
But what she wants to do is talk. She is able to utter mostly muffled sentences, despite missing so much of her mouth.
Her favorite subject in school, she said, is math.
Zainabou’s favorite movie: the Disney film, “Frozen.” She watched it repeatedly during the two months she spent recovering last summer at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
When she grows up, she wants to be a dancer.
In school, Abdoulaye said his daughter enjoys school. She is, he said, “very, very smart.” Her last report card: All A’s and one B.
In the fall of 2014, in the days before she was released from the hospital, she was given two options: A teacher could come to her house or she could go to school.
She chose going to school.
Arrangements have been made. A nurse rides the bus with Zainabou, attends class with her. The nurse hooks up her feeding tube at lunch and rides the bus home with her.
The nurse brings equipment in case Zainabou’s breathing tube gets clogged.
Monica Battle, principal at College Hill Fundamental Academy, described Zainabou as a happy, kindhearted girl, who also is an outstanding student, focused on schoolwork and learning.
A judge earlier this month upheld a$7.5 million judgment against Irby and White.
That money, however, is not considered collectible.
Abdoulaye, her father, considers Zainabou’s increasing ability to speak, a miracle. He hopes for more miracles.
“If she (is) ever able to eat again – I don’t know,” he said. “Thank you, God.”
We are trying to raise 1 million dollars as a safety net of services for Zainabou, as I previously stated, she will likely not see the 7 million dollars from the lawsuit. However, she will need more surgeries and her parents will be missing a lot of work to help her. They will still be responsible for household expensive, rent, affording healthcare and their other children. We also want to make sure that Zainabou stays on track educationally by giving her access to tutors when she is out of school, 24 hour nursing services and access to the latest medical advances to help her quality of life. Additionally, we want to make sure she is in the best schools to support her and secure enough funds to provide her a full scholarship to any school of her choosing.
If you can please donate and share this campaign for #ZainabouDrame You can send Zainabou wishes of love and affirmation using the #weloveyouZainabou.
Founder of UC Students Against Injustice