Jul 1, 2021

Angel's first steps at the hand of his father

Angel
Angel

It was not a Sunday like any other. It was December 24, 2017, and while many people were preparing to receive and celebrate Christmas, Ángel's family awaited his arrival with anxiety, and as a gift of life, he was born!

Like all children at birth, Ángel changed the life of his family. He began to become the center of attention, and he was the new member and the only child in the house. All were willing to take care of him with much love, although it was clear from the beginning that the care of the little one had an additional condition because his right foot had developed with a congenital malformation. "It was something very hard for me, and the mother as well. But over time, we accepted the reality of the situation, so it is something that one did not expect, but we had to accept it, and we have struggled to move forward," Wilberto said, the father of the little one.

"The most difficult thing was that he had a lot of complications when he was born. They left him in the hospital for several days, and it was very hard for us" says Wilberto, to tell us what his condition implied. During three years, he went through hospitalizations of long days, countless visits to the doctor, consultations with different specialists, and examinations. The doctors decided to amputate his leg to shape his stump. To give him a better way to go through the rehabilitation process with a prosthesis. In which he could learn to walk, to grow, and dream of his future.

Ángel began to participate in a program, learning playfully, sharing with other children, and enjoying the knowledge, which a few months later, and due to the global pandemic, it stopped. Although the experience has not been the same in recent times thanks to virtuality, he has been learning.

Ángel got a prosthesis before going to Mahavir Kmina, but this prosthesis did not provide the comfort required to take the steps safely. That was how they were motivated to look for other opportunities for Ángel, in a different place, which could offer him what he needed to walk.

Based on his experience with the first prosthesis, Wilberto imagined, at first, that the adaptation process at the Mahavir Kmina Corporation would not be that easy. Once he was in our facilities, he knew that the key to success with the prosthesis was to receive a good service. "I thought it was going to be more difficult. Ángel has been wearing the prosthesis and getting used to walking with it, " he says, and a few minutes later, he adds: " It is an excellent service, everyone is very nice, keeping their attention at the patient. It made us happy, satisfied, pleased. We are letting him use it, sit down, lie down so that he adapts well to it."

As Wilberto sees his son as very talented, he wants him to be into sports once he grows up a bit more. "I would like him to study, that he would like sports a lot, as I once did. I have a double Paralympic medalist friend, who is blind and now is Ángel's godfather” adding “I have many friends with different conditions, and that is not a disability, because the disability is mental and they can do whatever they want".

At Mahavir Kmina we believe in opportunities to walk, to chase dreams, and fulfill them. Ángel will count on our support during his development and growth.

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Mar 15, 2021

The challenges of a mother overcome by love

Julieta
Julieta

"No language can express the power, beauty, heroism, and love of a mother." H, Edwin.

Yes, that is how it is! As Edwin H. Chapin says, the heroism of a mother is unique, and Tania, Julieta's mom, a 7-year-old girl, has been in charge of proving it from the moment she found out that she was pregnant.

Mothers have the strength to protect their children, and there is no greater happiness than knowing, during ultrasounds, that everything will be fine. When Tania was five months pregnant, in November 2013, the doctor informed her that one of her daughter's lower limbs was not developing. Another perinatologist said that the girl would not be able to sit up. "At that moment, I felt very lonely, I had no support, and I kept asking myself, why me, why me?" Tania said. It was difficult news to assimilate for her. "Someone very close to me suggested an abortion because, according to her, the girl was going to be very dependent on me."

Tania develops strength. She knew it would not be easy. She decided to take her situation with a positive attitude, although in those days, due to so many opinions, about what they suggested was better, she says that "I was stunned."

Julieta was born in March 2014, and during the first hours, the doctors took care of making sure that the baby was well. After examining her and determining if her state of health was optimal, Tania was finally able to hold her in her arms, “I wasn't able to stop crying when I looked at her. Julieta also looked at me as if wondering, what is wrong with you? Why are you crying? I realized that I had no reason to cry."

Her father came to meet the newborn baby, he held her in his arms, and they spent a whole day together. It was the only day that Julieta spent time with her father. “The girl wants to meet him. I told her that I do not know where he is. And that when she is older, she can try to look for him. She has seen him in some photos on Facebook, but we no longer find him through this medium. It has been difficult to contact him.”

From her first year, Tania began the long process of learning about her daughter's condition and finding the best alternative to enable her to walk and be independent. Visits to the doctor and X-rays became routine. As well as consultations with specialists from different cities, who had different opinions and suggestions. A doctor in Bucaramanga proposed that the best thing was to perform a surgical procedure. A specialist in Bogotá said that it was most likely that the girl would not walk. Another one suggested making a fictitious hip. A doctor in Tampa, United States, which they communicated through emails, determined that Julieta was not a candidate for the treatment that he thought. He offered the option of amputating her leg and providing her with a prosthesis. Finally, she received the opinion of a doctor in Medellín, who proposed to do a rotation plasty. After listening to lots of recommendations, she decided that she would not amputate her limb, as Tania prefers Julieta to be the one who makes the decision that considers best for her when she grows up.

Learning how to walk always represents a challenge in childhood. In Julieta's case, she had a greater degree of difficulty. Due to her condition, and even though she has suffered fractures in her left wrist and her small femur, she has never given up. On the contrary, she learned to get up from the falls with courage and the best attitude to keep going.

In 2016, Julieta received her first prosthesis from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They are present in zones of armed conflict in Bucaramanga. This adaptation process meant a great challenge, while Julieta was taking her first steps. Quickly, her prosthesis was too small for her, so the Red Cross awarded her with a second one.

Tania has always been interested in research and looking for other options, which could be good for her daughter. On Facebook, she joined support groups where she met mothers who share similar experiences.

“I found out about Mahavir Kmina when one of the moms in the support group adopted a girl from India. She had an excellent-quality prosthesis that she got at the BMVSS. She told me about the technology of the Jaipur foot. So I decided to google them and found that the Corporation is in Medellín, Colombia.” Tania contacted Mahavir Kmina and anxiously awaited the date of her little girl's date. In October 2018, Julieta arrived at the Corporation with her mother.

Julieta has a family that loves and supports her in every process. She always reminds her of how valuable she is to her. Tania has encouraged the family to request favors from the girl because she says that in this way, she will learn to face different situations and show that she can too. "I always insist that it is important to think I love myself, I accept myself, and I approve of myself. Self-esteem is important in the development of children when growing up," Tania expressed. Even though the little girl has suffered teasing and inappropriate comments from outsiders.

Her confidence needs reinforcement. It will help her to cope with difficult times and allow her to socialize easily. “When she has her prosthesis on, she feels happy. She sometimes gets tired and uses the crutches, and then she puts the prosthesis on again. She loves her leg and her prosthesis."

“Although I am her reference, there are other social circles, and it is important to socialize and share with others. In Mahavir Kmina, she has a space that opens up a possibility for her to speak and express herself.”

Tania has also discovered a great interest in Julieta for art and ecology “she is happy collecting flowers and stones. She does not want to throw anything away. She fills my house with things she has found saying that we have to recycle and the importance of taking care of the environment.”

Since she was four years old, to date, Julieta has received two prostheses from Mahavir Kmina. She has also attended two appointments to make some adjustments, receiving support from the entire Corporation team, to fulfill all the dreams that, since now, she has started to build.

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Nov 19, 2020

Little girl, Big Steps

For everyone, Christmas is a time of happiness and sharing with loved ones. It was Christmas and Yudi was celebrating with her 8 months old baby. They were smiling with traditional music and carols. That Monday, on Christmas Eve in 2018, between laughter, gifts, hugs, and food, no one imagined how this family’s life would change in just a week.

Who knew that New Year’s Eve parties might surprise them with a daunting event!

Just a few days after the family Christmas celebration, New Year’s Eve came with devastating news. That day Amelia was diagnosed with pneumonia. Her situation became complicated, and during her critical condition and with some organs compromised, she had to be sedated.

Doctors detected complications in one of Amelia’s legs. A week later, her leg did not improve, as a widespread bacterial infection affected one of her lower limbs. The apparent solution was the amputation at the ankle. Yudi relied on medical opinion, although it was not an easy decision, she accepted the surgery with optimism and hoping the best for her baby.

January 8, 2019, was the day of her surgery, and as expected, it was the best decision, as Amelia’s medical situation improved. She was able to get out of intensive care to special care.

It was only a few days after the first surgery, and Amelia was going through the second one, due to necrosis.

This time the recovery was much easier, faster, and more encouraging because it did not take long for her to start crawling everywhere at home, demonstrating from that moment her desire to be independent to move.

Amelia was a year old, and her stump was so inflamed that she could not flex her knee. She began to be attended by the physiotherapy recommended by the medical team, and little by little, she was managing to move her knee. This good news came with a better outlook: the solution to take her first steps.

She was lucky, one of the doctors in charge of her process at the hospital, is also the technical director of the Corporation. He gave her the prosthesis that could adapt better to the little girl, due to its characteristics: light, resistant, and personalized. Yudi could not believe it, and without thinking, she only said, "I will go wherever, whenever and however I have to go... Thank God, thank God!" It seemed like a miracle to her.

Then it was her appointment day in Mahavir Kmina. She would become one of the 180 youngest beneficiaries. Her parent's smiles said more than words could say. They had a lot of expectations, and without knowing much about the subject they wondered "how could she walk with that heavy prosthesis?", Nevertheless, she did not take long to stand up with balance and take her first steps.

One year later, the little girl had her second appointment at the Corporation, because she had grown so much, and her prosthesis was too small for her. She needed a new one. This time, her prosthesis had a special meaning. Amelia resisted more weight, and her foot was no longer made of foam. This time, she received a rubber foot that would look more like the real and, it also had a personalized design.

As she returned home, her family, friends, and neighbors were surprised to see the similarity between both feet, saying “how beautiful! It looks like the real. Now her shoes look perfect."

Amelia has shown that limits are in mind only, and for her, they do not exist. Despite her young age, she always wants to have her prosthesis on, and after taking a shower in the morning, she tries to put it on immediately to go outside. After seeing her abilities, Amelia's parents plan to give her the first bike. The little girl has become a great example for her entire family and, teaches them a lot every day. Now, when someone complains, they immediately say, "I am complaining about that nonsense, and look at Amelia, she can do anything."

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