Patience was born in Liberia, West Africa. When she was four years old, she drank from a glass of clear liquid. The liquid was lye, a caustic solution used as laundry soap, causing her throat to burn, thus causing scar tissue that severely constricted her esophagus, making it impossible to eat.
Patience was unable to eat, and could barely swallow. She was slowly starving away when the Duval family from Marion got the call that there was a sick girl that needed help in Liberia. They immediately flew to Monrovia to pick up Patience and brought her back to Iowa.
Two weeks later, she was admitted to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital for dilation—a common treatment used to help expand the esophagus. The treatment involves using an endoscope to stretch the esophagus with an inflatable balloon.
When the Duval’s picked Patience up in Africa, she was 4 years old and 15 pounds. Today, Patience is 5 years old and 45 pounds and is a thriving kindergartner. She will continue to undergo dilation for the rest of her life, but is pretty much a healthy and normal child. Her favorite food is pizza!