Ethiopian teen flown to Jacksonville for life-changing procedure

Elpis International makes it possible for Mede to have surgery at Wolfson

By Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local Christian humanitarian group has made it possible for an Ethiopian teenager to receive a life-changing procedure in Jacksonville. 

Elpis International welcomed 14-year-old Mede when she arrived at Jacksonville International Airport Friday from Ethiopia, where she was living in poverty.

Corrie Freeman, with Elpis International, explained that Mede is one of about 100 children the group serves in Ethiopia.

Mede was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, but there was no surgery available in Ethiopia. So Elipis International asked Mede to come to America. 

Ethiopian Airlines gifted the airfare for Mede and her chaperone to make the trip to Jacksonville. 

"Oh my goodness. It's going to drastically change her life and give her more hope for a brighter tomorrow," Freeman said.

Wolfson Children's Hospital offered the procedure without charging Mede or Elpis.

"One of our missionaries, who has gone with us to Ethiopia, his son had the same surgery at Wolfson. So just a conversation started between the doctors and Joel and he showed them the X-ray and the rest is history. They started talking about opportunities Wolfson could offer and they offered to do the surgery at no cost to us," Freeman said. "(It's) a huge blessing."

Elpis has taken volunteers to Ethiopia to serve in feeding centers, but Mede is the first one of the children they brought to the United States. 

Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.