Where there’s a will, there is a way especially when God is in the equation.
Just ask Leandra Rolle, a 17-year-old girl diagnosed with scoliosis, who recently graduated from Agape Christian School as salutatorian.
You see, Leandra was diagnosed with scoliosis three years ago.
Priced at $300,000, the corrective scoliosis spinal surgery seemed an impossible obstacle to circumvent without medical insurance or adequate funds.
But Leandra and her parents, Leslie and Ruby Rolle, were soon reminded that God specializes in the impossible, and that help was on the way to correct the prominent curvature of Leandra’s spine. Leandra travelled to Fort Lauderdale to undergo a donated spinal surgery to correct a severe curvature of the spine caused by Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.
“When I was 14, my mother noticed that my shoulders were uneven. We went to Dr. [Benerji] Swarna, and he confirmed that I had scoliosis,” Leandra vividly recalled. “We then flew to the United States for a second opinion.
“I was not educated at first about scoliosis, so I was frightened. Then when I went online, I was even more frightened because I read about women with scoliosis who could not have any children or about people who could not walk again.”
At school, Leandra remembered being told to sit up straight, and her slouching was ruled out as bad posture. However, the hump in her back was noticeable and Leandra grew more self-conscious.
As the time neared for her surgery on June 19, Leandra grew more excited but nervous as well.
“Although I wanted my spine to be corrected, I had negative thoughts,” Leandra disclosed. “But what got me through and gave me strength and encouragement was God, my family’s presence and their prayers, the nurses who were so hospitable, and my church family.”
After the surgery, Leandra experienced intense pain but outweighing the pain was a sense of relief that the surgery had been successful. Some days she feels a bit tired, but there is no longer excruciating pain. While she recovers, Leandra’s doctor recommended that she does not do any strenuous exercise or lifting, and just to “take it easy.”
“I can feel myself healing,” she proudly shared. “The recovery takes six months to a year, so I have to send in my X-rays in a couple of months then I go back for a check-up in December.”
Undoubtedly, her outlook on life has taken a turn for the better.
“I am more appreciative about life because without God I would not have had my surgery. I realize that God will never leave or forsake me, so I put my faith and trust in Him.”
When Leandra returned home with her mother Ruby, brother Jamari and Aunt Greta Strachan-Culmer last month, she felt an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation to see her family members gathered at the airport to welcome her home.
“I felt so loved and special,” Leandra exclaimed.
Her mother Ruby added that the message from Leandra’s surgery is that God can do all things; He can do the impossible.
Leandra and her family sent a special thank you to David and Dinah Caskey, Bahamas missionaries; Dr. Stuart Hershman, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon; Julie Darrow, managing director at Florida Spine Specialists; the members of West Broward Church of Christ; and Ronald McDonald House.
Once she has completely recovered, Leandra has her sights set on college and looking forward to her BGCSE results. She is currently looking at scholarships available to her and potential colleges/universities like Pepperdine University and Harding University that are affiliated with the Church of Christ where she is a member. The College of The Bahamas is also among her options.
She plans to become a television reporter, and based on the videos she has recorded throughout her journey with scoliosis, she is already the star of the show with her outgoing and friendly personality.
Leandra is also looking forward to picking up where she left off in athletics with basketball, volleyball and swimming. In the meantime, though, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
Her parting words to those faced with health challenges or any challenges for that matter is to put their trust in God like she has.
“I waited three years and I put my faith and trust in God, and prayed for Him to help me,” she noted. “Look what He did for me.”