Fortunately, I was diagnosed in time

“Oziris only realised that something was wrong when his earlobes, hands, and feet started to swell. His friends bullied him and called him Fofão. It’s the name of an ugly doll with strange body measurements appearing in an old Brazilian children’s television programme.

My mother took my brother to the hospital, but the doctors didn’t know what it was. She continued searching and left no stone unturned. But it took them months to find a doctor who recognised the symptoms. Oziris had leprosy. Immediately, the doctor set him up for treatment. But it was already too late: the strength in his hands had disappeared.

At the self-care group, my brother learns how he can best deal with his disability

Everyday tasks have become a struggle to Oziris. Writing, buttoning up his clothes, and opening pots and bottles, to name just a few examples. It leaves me sad, and I help him wherever I can. At the self-care group, he learns how he can best deal with his disability. Every day he trains his hands. Still, my mother is deeply troubled about his future. How will he earn a living if he cannot work with his hands?

A few months after my brother’s diagnosis, a white spot emerged in my face. My mother was concerned about it, so we went to see the same doctor. He concluded straight away: I had leprosy too and needed to start treatment immediately. The news was heavy on my mother. Now, two of her children had fallen ill. Fortunately, I was diagnosed in time.

Person affected by leprosy Ludimila at home with her family
Ludimila with her mother and little sister
Person affected by leprosy Ludimila playing a game with her little sister

The most important thing is that I have been spared disfigurations. I am so relieved about that

The spot in my face completely disappeared, but the most important thing is that I have been spared disfigurations. I am so relieved about that. Still, I didn’t tell anyone at school about my disease. I’m afraid that, just like my brother, I will be bullied. I want to prevent this because I like school. My dream is to become a lawyer, because I want to help other people.