Nacogdoches woman gives new limbs to mutilated Tanzanite children

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - News stories about mutilated albino African children never left the mind of a Nacogdoches specialist who fits and makes artificial limbs.

In addition to owning a prosthetic practice, Sherrie Anderson is the now the founder of Step by Step missions.

One of her special friends in Tanzania is Kabula.

"She was attacked during the night when she was with her family and she's now 14," Anderson said. "She was 12 at the time."

Kabula's leg was cut off. Witch doctors believe albino bones bring prosperity.

"So during the middle of the night there were people who would cut their arms and legs off with a machete and then sell them on the black market," Anderson said.

Today, Anderson is fitting the rare survivors with artificial limbs through her newly founded Step by Step missions.

While in Tanzania, Anderson discovered other needs.

"They have nothing to play with," Anderson said. "I didn't see one toy for 100 children. And this just shows their need for sunscreen and hats and better skin care."

Anderson also met adults with missing limbs caused by accident to snake bites.

"I went to a home for disabled adults," Anderson said. "I was expecting a Africa-style nursing home."

But Anderson found herself in a far different place.

"The people that I saw there all had leprosy, so I really wasn't prepared for that," Anderson said.

The specialist jumped right in, measuring each patient with skill and compassion. She'll return with a trunk full of special cargo.

"Overall we're doing 29 prosthesis which we will have to be able to get the componentry for all those and cover the cost of those, but we're hopeful we'll be able to do it all," she said.

Anderson is reaching out to East Texas to help for children like Kabula.

"And here she's wearing a hat and glasses that were donated from the kind people of Nacogdoches," she said.

Step-by-Step missions welcomes the opportunity to talk before churches and civic groups to explain the cause and where help is needed.

Donations can be dropped off at Professional Prosthetic Care located at 3316 North University in Nacogdoches.

Money, sunscreen, toys, hats, reading glasses, prosthetic socks and devices are all needed.

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