Health
 Colombia
Project #4025

Give Prostheses to 35 Maimed Colombian War Victims

by United for Colombia
Vetted

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrW-1A0o7Zc). 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!

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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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Ana Maria  was born on September 30, 1992 in Antioquia. Ten years later, her family was displaced by the guerrilla group FARC and had to move to Tumaco, another town in Cauca. In October 2007, when she was just 15 years old, Ana Maria left her home to look for firewood since she needed it for cooking. While in this search, her left foot activated a landmine, causing serious injuries and an amputation of almost all of her foot.

On June 2016, Ana Maria returned to Bogotá to continue with her medical treatment and receive a new prosthesis. The whole trip took her 18 hours since she had to take a bus from Tumaco to Urrao, then, a bus to Medellín, and finally a bus to Bogotá.

Nowadays, Ana Maria milks cows for living on a farm near her home. She has to walk several miles to get there, and since her prosthesis is pretty old, her legs hurts really badly. Besides her job, she has to take care of her sister and son because both of them are under her care.

While in Bogotá, she attended punctually to all the appointments at the CIREC foundation. The doctors payed close attention to her case. First of all, they looked at the state of her leg and saw it was in really bad shape and that the new prosthesis was really needed (Photo 1). They took the sample with a plaster stump and made her one prototype to see if it is good. (Photo 2 and 3).

Ana Maria returned to her home on June 24 and has to come back to Bogota on July 18th to get her new prosthesis and physical therapy. She will stay there for about two weeks.

Please click here to watch a short video about her story: Ana María

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When Ana was only 12 years old, a guerilla group recruited her in the state of Putumayo. Her accident occurred during a combat, an explosive device exploded near her affecting her eyes and resulting in the loss of his right eye. Since 2013, Ana is under government protection and lives with a foster mother in Quindío, Colombia.

United for Colombia has – with the support of generous donors – taken care of her rehabilitation and medical costs. In January 2016, Ana received a prosthetic eye, improving her appearance and recovering her self-esteem. She is very optimistic and has an amazing outlook on life. She wants to go back to school to continue her education and hopes for a new beginning in life.

www.unitedforcolombia.org

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Carlos from a child to teenager!
Carlos from a child to teenager!

It is so gratifying after more than 10 years of continuous work to share successful stories as the Carlos´. He has been with United for Colombia since 2006 and right now we can happily say he is just as a normal teenager.

Carlos is from Bucaramanga, Santander. In January 2006, when Carlos was only six years old, a grenade was thrown into his home and exploded close to where the children were watching TV. The explosion seriously injured Carlos and his little sister, and unfortunately, killed his younger cousin.

Carlos received a left prosthetic leg in December 2006, almost one year after the incident. Because he is a fast growing boy, it’s necessary for his prosthetic leg to be adjusted yearly in order to meet his new height and weight measurements.

Thanks to United for Colombia´s donors, Carlos Jhordan receives support to help cover the ongoing costs of his education and yearly maintenance of his prosthetic leg. In result, Carlos is a very happy kid, not only because he is now getting a free high-quality education, but also because he can run and play just like other kids.

We invite you to watch a short video about his process during the last 10 years: Carlos Jhordan´s evolution process

 

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Organization Information

United for Colombia

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

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