Orphan from Uzbekistan comes to Memphis for life-saving treatment

Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shebonna is a 13-year-old from Uzbekistan that came to Memphis for a life-saving treatment.

Memphis businessman and philanthropist Dan Patterson and his wife Christine met Shebonna at an orphanage on the other side of the planet, in Uzbekistan, 6,900 miles from Memphis, where Dan does business.

“At the age of two, her parents orphaned her because they didn’t have an financial means or were afraid they would not be able to take care of her... and gave her to the state,” Patterson said.

Dan asked about the tumor on Shebonna’s face and was told there was nothing they could do.

”They said well there’s nothing we really can do. We don’t think there’s any kind of treatment here in Uzbekistan,” Patterson said.

Dan arranged for an MRI and Uzbek doctors sent to St. Jude in Memphis and no cancer was found.

”It’s a benign tumor. The bad news is it’s growing at such a rapid rate that in maybe two years or so it might reach her brain. If the veins grow into her brain, she’ll probably have a stroke or aneurysm and pass away,” Patterson said. ”So as an American, as a business person over there, as a person of faith I really felt we needed to do something,” Patterson said.

Three years ago, Uzbekistan invited Dan Patterson’s Memphis company called Silverleafe to help modernize and mechanize its agricultural industry.

Dan says that’s led to all kinds of business opportunities but none is closer to his heart than the surgery Shebonna will undergo this month at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

Dan says LeBonheur deeply discounted the operation but A Go Fund Me has been set up to cover the remaining 90 thousand dollar tab.

“So we could invite friends, family, community to be able to participate in her having this opportunity and saving her life and having this opportunity with LeBonnheur,” Patterson said.

Shebonna will be here for the next four to six weeks. You might see that smile get bigger thanks to the expert surgery by Memphis doctors and big hearted generosity Memphis is known for.

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