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Renowned Palm Beach County doctor performs procedure to help 9-year-old girl from Mongolia walk

Child being treated for arthrogryposis
Enkhmurun Aligerma
Posted at 5:45 AM, Nov 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-29 10:50:08-05

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 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 and loves talking about Barbies.

"My favorite things to do is to play Barbies and play with my friends," said Ali.

But take note of her next statement. It is important to the story.

"The Barbie that bends her legs, her arms and moves her hands," said Ali. "I like that kind of Barbie. 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," said Ali.

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," said Ali.

She has been away from her family for five years.

"Her mother found me online and asked if I could help her child," said Kharman. "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," said Feldman.

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," said Feldman. "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," said Ali.

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