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An American doctor is performing a rare surgery to help a 9-year-old Mongolian girl walk

Child being treated for arthrogryposis
Posted at 11:06 AM, Nov 29, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Walking by New Year's Day — that's the hope for a young girl with a big heart.

She is from Mongolia but in West Palm Beach, Florida, for a unique surgery followed by therapy to treat arthrogryposis, a condition that leads to stiff joints.

Enkhmurun Aligerma, or "Ali," is like any other 9-year-old girl. Her favorite thing to do is play with Barbies and play with her friends.

"The Barbie that bends her legs, her arms and moves her hands. I like that kind of Barbie," Ali said. "I think she's pretty with the high heels and the jeans."

Her favorite Barbie is the one who bends her arms and legs. It's all Ali wants to be able to do.

"To get surgery for my legs to be straight and my arms to be straight and working more," Ali said.

After years of searching, she is getting the help and surgery she needs.

Enkhmurun Aligerma
Enkhmurun Aligerma

"It will shake up Mongolia when we go back," said Lita Kharman with the Children's Circle Mission.

Kharman has been caring for Ali and searching for help.

"I'm happy Children's Circle Mission helped me a lot because if they didn't, I would be left in Mongolia," Ali said

She has been away from her family for five years.

"Her mother found me online and asked if I could help her child," Kharman said. "It took me three states, three, maybe four surgeons, and it's been five years. A long journey for her."

The journey is finally coming to an end, all thanks to Dr. David Feldman, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach.

"At this point, we are the only ones doing this (surgery) anywhere right now," Feldman said.

It is the only place in the world to offer the operation to make her joints less stiff and straighten her knees. It's also a pro-bono operation.

"Before New Year's, she'll be walking," Feldman said. "She's strong. Not every kid is as strong as Ali is, mentally and physically."

The ultimate goal is to get her back to Mongolia within six months.

"Mongolia is a cool place," Ali said.

A cool place getting an even cooler kid back, thanks to a mother, a host and a doctor, who all cared.

This story was originally published by Tory Dunnan on WPTV.