HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Ali is full of laughs, and by looking at the 8-year-old's big smile, you'd be surprised by what she's endured at such an early age.
She is from Mongolia and was born with a birth defect that didn't allow her to move her hands or her feet. She had to use her heels and bottom to get around. Her mom had to feed her.
"Sometimes I would bite her finger," she said.
But things changed for Ali when her mother contacted Lita Kharmai in Michigan.
"Ali's mother in 2014 sent me an email and asked if I could help her child, and I sent her back an email, and I told her, 'Yes, I would be willing to help,'" she said.
Kharmai is the founder of the Children's Circle Mission.
"The Lord spoke to me 19 years ago to go back to my country in South America and help the children there and then around the world," she said.
She took little Ali's case back in 2014, traveled to Mongolia, bonded with the little girl and then brought her back to the U.S. to help her find the best treatment.
For parents, it's never easy allowing their children to come to the U.S. without them.
"Their biggest fear is that people will sell their children or take their body parts, those are things that we have heard," Kharmai said.
Kharmai worked with several hospitals and doctors across the country before finding a fix for Ali right here in Houston at Shriners Children's Hospital. Five years and several surgeries later, doctors were able to make special braces for Ali.
"Yes, I'm getting used to them. I've had these for one year and now they're making new ones, but they said they'll be ready in four weeks," she said.
And she's not only walking, she can hold things.
"I can hold books with my hand and when I was little I didn't, so I just put it on the floor to read and then turn the pages. And I can pick up a lot of things now," Ali said.
Ali loves to draw and now wants to be an artist, and behind that big smile is a lot of gratitude.
"Thank you, Shriners Hospital, for giving me these leg braces. Without them I can't walk, but now I can walk," Ali said.
"It was a God moment, it was a miracle moment, it was those people there are so passionate at Shriners, that therapist, the surgeon, everyone who sees her, and she's a delight and a light to be there," Kharmai added.
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