Zainabu’s Battle for Life

Zainabu's story demonstrates how patients in low-income countries with preventable conditions can be deprived of appropriate medical treatment because of lack of availability or financial capability.

I met Zainabu two years ago when she was 15 years old.  One look at her spine and we knew how much she needed surgery. Unfortunately, the two previous times Zainabu was supposed to go, another child that was even more critical took her spot at last minute.  Now, Zainabu can’t wait any longer. She has severe difficulty breathing, has challenges eating and digesting because her organs are so squished, and she hasn’t grown taller in eight years. 

She needs our help now. 

Zainabu is a smart and beautiful 17-year-old Tanzanian girl. In January, she will start her senior year of high school, and her goal is to become an accountant . She is such a fighter, but her spine is the one thing keeping her from achieving her dreams. 

Zainabu’s family first noticed a problem when she was 6 years old.  They took her to the local hospital. The doctors gave her a back brace to wear and told her that as long as she wore the brace she would  “grow straight.” As you can tell by the pictures, she did not grow straight.  

After almost two years in the brace and many trips to the hospital, the doctors realized there was nothing they could do and told the family they should look outside of the country for help. It took the family a few years, but eventually, they found our nonprofit organization Stand Tall, which arranges and funds life-saving spinal surgeries for children of East Africa.

The heartbreaking truth is, if we don’t get Zainabu to the hospital and into surgery within the next three to six months, surgery may become too risky for her. 

I can’t imagine a child dying because we couldn’t raise enough money.

All funds raised will go directly to paying for Zainabu's treatment and recovery - her surgery, housing, flights, translator, physical therapy and all other essential needs. For a specific breakdown of the budget, email [email redacted]. 

Thank you, and please share!


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  • Margarita Manduley 
    • $100 
    • 23 mos
  • Helen Rodriguez 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Brace Buddies Stacey Mears 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Cathi Vilinsky 
    • $221 
    • 26 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Team Z (7)

Masha Balovlenkov 
Raised $1,337 from 19 donations
Los Angeles, CA
Stand Tall International 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
Gosia Glowacka 
Team member
Raised $2,194 from 8 donations
Karen Hadley 
Team member
Raised $240 from 3 donations
Josh Kahn 
Team member
Raised $75 from 2 donations
Carson Guzowski 
Team member
Raised $35 from 2 donations
See all
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