SUFFERING from a bone infection in her leg, 11-year-old Seruwaia Vualiku lived the past two years in almost intolerable pain. But after receiving reconstructive surgery at the Shriners Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, the young girl from Tavua would not have to bear the burden of walking with a limp nor suffer any discomfort for the rest of her life.
Seruwaia returned on Monday with her mother Miliame Taukei after spending five months to correct the defect. Now she's looking forward to starting school again.
Shriners Hospital representative Rob Leacock said the Tavua Primary School student was treated for an infection which was causing problems in her left leg.
"In 2011, Seruwaia received a cut on her left leg that became infected and would not heal properly," he said.
"She had three surgeries in Fiji but the leg still didn't heal properly.
"She went to the Shriners Clinic at Lautoka Hospital in March last year and flew to Hawaii in August of 2013 and spent five months receiving treatment for the infected leg."
Also accompanying Seruwaia on the return to Fiji were two other patients who received expert care at the children's hospital.
"Coming home was Koroi Bainivalu, 17, and his stepmother Seini Tabakau of Lautoka," said Mr Leacock.
"Koroi injured his hip when he was four years of age and has had a limp since then.
"He also had treatment in Fiji that did not help his hip. He flew to Hawaii for his surgery in October 2013."
Mr Leacock said the third patient was 19-year-old Davendra Waqa from Suva.
"He had surgery to remove a plate from his hip that had been installed by the surgeons at Shriners Hospital for Children during surgeries in 2011 and 2012."
The Shriners Hospital would conduct its clinics in March at CWM Hospital and Lautoka and Labasa hospitals.