Give Prostheses to 35 Maimed Colombian War Victims

by United for Colombia

Thanks to the support of our donors, last January 28th, United for Colombia Team participated in the renowned 2018 Miami Marathon, A group of 9 beneficiaries flew to Miami to race in either their hand bikes or with their prosthesis. Among them, Cristian Torres and Pierry Ramirez finished in 1st place in the Marathon and Half Marathon Wheelchairs respectively. Here are the admirable stories of each one of our athletes:

Harlen Ospino, In May 2008, during a military operation against a guerrilla group, Harlen stepped on a landmine field and lost both legs. UFC has sponsored his prosthesis since then and this year gave him the specialized Running Prosthesis. He lives happily in Bogotá with his wife and 2 daughters, all of whom work together to help Harlen train and prepare for Marathons. He works as a Warehouse Assistant in a multinational company.

Camilo Diaz, In July 2008, during a military operation in Uribe, Meta; Captain Diaz stepped on a landmine and lost his left leg. After the accident, he retired from the army and became an attorney. He lives in Bogotá with his wife and 8 year-old son. UFC has sponsored his prosthesis leg since that fateful day. Last year, Camilo was the recipient of a professional running prosthesis from German prosthetics company:  Ottobock. Camilo is now a proud ambassador of Ottobock.

Fabio Rendon, in July 2008, Fabio was a soldier in the Colombian Army. During an operation in the state of Nariño, Fabio stepped on a landmine and lost his left leg. Last year, Fabio joined the Paralympic team in Bogotá and trains every day. UFC has supported him since the date of the accident with his prosthetic leg and it´s regular maintenance.

Jhon Montero, in 2008 stepped on a landmine in a military operation in the state of Huila. After retiring from the Army, he studied Graphic Design and works in a Call Center in Bogotá. He wears a state of the art prosthesis but dreams to have a specialized prosthesis to run.

Leonardo Varon, in 2008 while inspecting illicit crops in the state of Valle del Cauca, he stepped on a landmine that caused the loss of both legs. UFC sponsored his prosthesis which 7 years ago helped him discover an athlete within himself. Leonardo started training in the hand cycle and has achieved international prizes in the marathons of Washington DC, New York, Miami and Spain.

Daniel Toro, on 2015, while he was training in the military duty, Daniel stepped on a landmine in the state of Antioquia and lost both legs. He started training in hand cycle since last year and this was his first international competition.

Pierry Ramirez was in the Police 20 years ago when an explosive artifact exploded close to his base and caused him permanent spinal injuries. Since that brutal day, he has been confined to a wheelchair. He is now the representative of Achilles International in Colombia and works in the United State Embassy. He has practiced many Paralympic sports but nowadays his specialty is the handcycle.

Cristian Torres is a policeman’s son. He was born with the Phocomelia disease; a rare defect in which no long bones develop resulting in malformations of the arms and legs. Nevertheless, his drive and motivation has led him to become a renowned athlete. He holds 5th place in the T53 category worldwide! In the last Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he obtained an Olympic diploma. 

Camilo Quiroga, when he was just 17 years old, during a combat between illegal groups, a stray bullet injured him and caused medullar paralysis. He is a Managerial Administrator and works at the Colombian Presidency. 



Narly is an indigenous girl from the Emberá indigenous people in Colombia. She was born in Urrao, Antioquia and her mother left her under the care of her grandmother when she was just a baby. Narly´s uncle abused her so when she was just 9 years old, she joined a guerrilla group and escaped from her home.

One day, during a combat between guerrillas and the army, Narly was shot on the waist. The soldiers rescued and transferred her to a hospital in Medellin for medical attention. With the support of ICBF, she was taken to a foster home under the Colombian government protection so she could receive adequate physical and psychological rehabilitation.

In 2012 at the age of 14, Narly received support from United for Colombia because the injury caused her difficulties moving her legs and she needed braces in both legs in order to walk. At that time, Narly could only speak the Emberá language. 

Now Narly is 19 years old, she speaks fluent Spanish, she finished second grade and lives independently. She aspires to graduate from high school and became a chef. She loves cooking and is very good at handcrafts.



On May 7th, 2017, United for Colombia hosted the sixth version of the “Presta Tu Pierna 11K” (Lend you Leg 11K) that took place in the city of Medellín, located on the north east region of Colombia. For the first time, the citizens of the region were able to participate in an event that encourages the inclusion and visualization of antipersonnel mines survivors, both military and civilians, in Colombia.

1.800 people signed on to show their support of the victims, and were able to meet and interact with over 300 of them who came from all parts of the country to run the race. The victims all wore green T-shirts and the other participants wore a white T-shirts.

Among the runners, the presence of professional athletes, Paralympic athletes and high performance runners was noticeable, but the race also welcomed amateurs’ runners from all ages. 

The race was possible thanks to the support of different national enterprises from both public and private sector, and various international organizations also came to contribute with this noble cause.

United for Colombia was the organization in charged of the event, and with the help of other non-profit organizations, the race that began as a dream almost a year ago, became a reality.

Thanks to the support of Global Giving donors, our beneficiaries have received medical rehabilitation treatments, specially prosthesis. They came from all over the country and showed us that disability only exists in mind.

United for Colombia Foundation


Edwin is from Boyacá, Colombia. When he was 13 years old he found a “metallic tube” on his way home from school. To him it looked like a toy so he picked it up and started fidgeting with it when suddenly the tube exploded. Edwin lost his left arm and was wounded in his chest and stomach. 

In 2007, United for Colombia foundation provided him with a state-of-the-art hand prosthesis along with continuous physical and psychological therapy. Since then, United for Colombia foundation has supported Edwin covering maintenance and adjustment costs of his artificial upper limb to preserve the functionality of his prosthesis.

This prosthesis allows him to do what he loves the most: bicycling. His aspiration of being a professional cyclist came to reality when he joined the Colombian Cycling Paralympic Team. Since then, he has participated in international championships in countries like Mexico, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada. 

Last March, Edwin was part of the Colombian team on the Rio Paralympic Games. He won a bronze medal in the men´s individual time trial, category C5. It was a huge reward for all these years of training!

Harlen was a 24 year old soldier in the Colombian Army. On May of 2008 during a military operation against guerrillas in the state of Meta, Colombia, Harlen stepped on a landmine that caused the amputation of his legs.

At the beginning he felt as the “The Ugly Duckling”, he thought his life had ended and he wouldn´t be able to find a wife and have a family. All of this changed when he met United for Colombia and got a pair of state-of-the-art prosthesis. His tenacity gave him the ability to walk on the first day and now, even to dance (please click on the link to watch him dancing: Nowadays, he works as an Inventory Assistant at the distribution center of a multinational company. He is married and has a 7 year old daughter, Paulette.

On December 2015, Harlen was selected from a group of 2000 Colombian runners that wished to run the denominated as the most beautiful running race in the world, the Two Oceans Race in Cape Town, South Africa. In March, he travelled with the other 6 members of the Colombian Team and ran for the first time, 21K in 1 hr 33 minutes. He made Colombians very proud!



Jose David is 10 years old. He is from a very low economic status neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia. His father abandoned them when he was very young so the mother provides all economic support to the family.

He lost his leg when he was just 5 years old. He was playing soccer in a street near his house with his older brother when they were hit by a car. The car fled and left the two boys helpless.

When the police arrived to the accident they thought Jose David would not make it because his life signals were very weak. They took him to the hospital immediately but since the boy had spent many hours without medical treatment, his health condition was critical. The most affected part of his body was his right leg. Unfortunately, the doctors could not save it.

Jose David received a basic prosthesis from the subsidized health insurance in Colombia but he was not able to walk. Five years after the terrible accident, a Colombian non-profit organization put his family in touch with United for Colombia in order to obtain a new prosthesis and possibly walk again.

Last August, Jose David travelled to Bogotá with his mom to receive his medical treatment. During one month he received a new prosthesis and physical treatment. Additionally, he received psychological treatment to help him adapt to his new leg.

He returned to Cartagena feeling happy because he was now able to play just like the other children his age!

United for Colombia



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Organization Information

United for Colombia

Location: Alexandria, VA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Catalina Alvarez
Bogota, D.C., Colombia

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