Saturday, July 16, 2011

Their Stories - Guatemala

OUR TEAM
Our team with 9 of the 14 amputees that we donated legs to on the first day of fittings.
Kneeling (L to R): Tiffany, Kristine, & Lindsey
First Row Standing (L to R): Luis, Melvin, Luky, Maynor, Carlos, Sadie, Blanca, Kristy, Jose Luis, Carlitos, Julie, & Lilliana
Back Row Standing (L to R): Brooks, Eddie, Maynor's Dad, Leoni, Sylvia, Levi, Doug, Julio, & Jamie
This picture was taken of the ISA team, local Prosthetists, and Doug (representing 2ft) after end of day one of making the casts for all 14 amputees.

Below you will find stories about the lives of the amputees 2ft and ISA were able to help.

CARLITOS AND CARLOS
Carlitos (age 8) lost his leg in an accident.
When he was amputated his fibula and tibula should have been fused together to prevent growth. This didn't happen. Consequently, his tibula and fibula bones started to grow which caused him sever discomfort when he'd walk. Another issue was that his prosthetic was several inches too short which caused him to limp when he walked and forced his knee to start growing sideways.
Carlos (age 10) was born as a bilateral amputee.
Carlitos walking to the clinic with his mom.
"Showing strength in the face of adversity." -Silvia Lobendahn (ISA)
UVU student Lindsey, taking measurements of Carlitos' residual limb. She was assisted by local prosthetist Lukey and 2ft's Doug Wright.
Building a friendship.
I love this kid! Being a father of two boys this really hit home for me, wanting very much for him to be able to do all the things that little boys do....run, play soccer, climb trees, etc.
More measurements.
Wrapping the limb with a plaster bandage.
Lindsey-with cast in hand, Carlitos, his mom, and Doug.
Carlitos walking for the first time on his new prosthetic leg.
High Fives!!
We were able to make his prosthetic with additional room in the socket so that his bones would not rub when he'd walk. We also were able to make his leg the right height so his knee would hopefully begin to grow straight.
Two days after we gave him his new prosthetic, he went in for surgery to have his tibia and fibia fused together. We have yet to hear of the outcome.
This is why I went to Guatemala. It brought tears to my eyes to see him walking on our leg and see his mom so happy.
We went outside to test out his new leg. He liked it and felt comfortable walking in it.
We were in a hurry to get back to a group photo, so I picked him up and carried him. He just laughed.

CARLOS
If I'm not mistaken, Carlos (age 11), was born as a bilateral amputee.
UVU student Kristine (far left) had the opportunity to work one on one with Carlos and build both of his legs under the supervision of 2ft and the Prosthetist.
Here we are taking measurements and marking his leg for the cast.
Carlos walking for the first time on his new prosthetics.
When we were fitting his leg he looked at us very timidly and asked if he could be a little bit taller. Julio, the prosthetist, and I just smiled at each other and said, "We'll see what we can do." We ended up making him several inches taller. He loved that we could do that for him.
Me and Carlos. This brought me great joy to help him in this way.
Carlos won a spot in everyone's heart. He was such a humble giant filled with great courage and strength to continue through his adversities.


MAYNOR


JOSE LUIS

His leg was unique due to the form of his residual limb.
He was excited about what we did for him.
video
UVU student Kristie Kitto was able to work with Jose Luis. This video is of the two of them walking together down Victory Lane!


MARIA ELENA (middle)
Maria Elena lost her leg on her journey to the United States. She saved everything she could for many years to be able to travel to the border. Once she got close she was pushed under a bus and it ran over her leg. She passed out and was awakened in a hospital without her leg. In the town she lives in she has to cross a river every day to go to the market for food. In order to cross the river she had to remover her prosthetic and cross using crutches. She mentioned to us how challenging this was for her because on her daily return home she had groceries to carry along with her crutches. The two ladies on each side of her were her support system while receiving her new leg. It was a 4 1/2 hour bus ride for her to travel into the city to have this done.
She was one of the first to be casted and this is a picture of Julio giving us instruction.
Here we are...me, Maria, and Luky (the prosthetist) showing off the finished product. Notice anything different about her prosthetic from the others?
Maria was one of Julio, the prosthetists, favorite so he wanted to give her something special....a leopard print prosthetic! =)
Here she is showing it off!
A closer look at the print. This is creativity!
Who would have thought...a pvc pipe leopard print prosthetic!


AURA


LILLIANA
Lilliana lost her leg due to cancer. She has 3 kids. Her husband left her and the kids when he found out her leg was to be removed as he thought she could be of no more use to him. She mentioned to us that she prayed and prayed and prayed for God to give her a new life.
Receiving measurements.
Telling us her story and how grateful she was to be there.
She got a little emotional from the gratitude she was feeling.
Julie Bagley, ISA Director, stepped in to give her a hug and the tears began to flow.
She kept saying, "Thank God for you guys. Thank God for you guys." It was a touching moment for us all.
She told us as we finished the process that this was an answer to her prayers. That God listened and has given her a new life. I believe this is true. She also said that she can now start fighting for her kids (making sure they have all that they need) and give them a better life than she had.

EDDIE
Eddie lost his leg as he says, "trying to live the American Dream." He was pushed under a train on his journey to the United States. All he remembers was counting 6 train cars and then passing out.
UVU student, Sadie, was who was teamed up to help him. She spoke enough Spanish that she was able to to a lot of the communicating on her own.
Taking measurements.
When Eddie put his leg on for the first time and walked using the parallel bars we had to tell him to slow down! He has been using crutches for the past year and a half and is ready to start walking. The first thing he said between pauses of HUGE smiles was, "Can I ride my motorcycle again?" It made all of us laugh. This prosthetic will make that possible.

MELVIN
Good ol' Melvin. He has lived an interesting life. He was struck by lightening while working. The lightening exited 3 parts of his body...his leg and two wrists. He wears his overcoat and long sleeve shirts to cover the scars on his forearms. He has lost all use of his hands and his scars are extremely sensitive to the touch.
UVU student Brooks was teamed up to help him. As soon as these two met each other, there was an instant connection even though there was a language barrier.
Taking measurements.
Brooks showing off the cast that he'd made for Melvin.
Taking more measurements. Melvin is very self conscious about his scars. It was 90 degrees and he was wearing a coat to cover them. The Prosthetist, Eddie, didn't want him to have to wear his coat everywhere he went so he looked for a solution. We found these wrist braces and removed the metal pieces in an effort to help him feel more comfortable without having to wear his coat.
In comparison to the first picture of when he arrived he looks more confident and happy. He felt comfortable without his coat and enjoyed wearing his new leg. I can't say how long it's been since he's been around people without his coat.


LUIS
Luis lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.
He was very hesitant to wear this leg. When he walked for the first time with it on using the parallel bars he kept saying, "It feels funny, it feels funny." We had to remind him that it was a new prosthetic, a new design,...and that he would need to get used to it. He wore it for a little while and by the time he left the clinic for home he felt more comfortable with it.

BLANCA
Blanca has a couple of kids and lives in a very humble home. UVU student, John Calveri, who is majoring in Digital Media came along with all of us specifically to create a Documentary as his Senior Project. Blanca was chosen to be featured in this film. We all look forward to seeing it.


NOEL
I believe Noel lost his leg in a motorcycle accident as well. He told us a story of when he was in the hospital. They said they could save his leg and he would undergo intense physical therapy or they'd amputate it. As he did research on prosthetics he found that people were running in the olympics and being successful with prosthetics. This gave him confidence in saying, "If they can do it, so can I!" Here he is sporting our design.
His residual limb was different than others in that it was more round and the prosthetic could not grip his knee as designed to stay on. We gave him a knee brace with the metal parts taken out to act as a sleeve to keep the prosthetic attached to him. We learned a lot through this process as we engineered a new design specifically for him.
. video
This video is of Noel showing us how he can dance with his new prosthetic!

BRENDA & CATALINA
These two women traveled together for about 6 hours to make it to Guatemala city to have us make a leg for them. That shows how willing these people were to receive a prosthetic as well as how big of a need there is!
Catalina was a little discouraged when she arrived. She lost her leg in an accident and was wishing she never lost her leg and cried longing for days past. We had to encourage and remind her that there was nothing we could do about the past,...only take control of the future.
She was excited about the outcome of the way this new prosthetic made her feel and looked forward to using it in days to come.

Brenda was so tired from the long journey it took to get to the clinic that everytime we'd leave her in the room to work on her leg we'd come back and find her sleeping. We gave her a knee brace as well to help hold the prosthetic on.

Although this list is not complete (missing Aura), it's good documentation of which UVU student was teamed up with which amputee. Julio, the prosthetist, had us all over at his house for dinner before we left. He was very pleased with the outcome and excited about the work that was performed for the people of his country. He mentioned that he has a list of over 350 people who are in need of a prosthetic but cannot afford one. Hopefully 2ft will continue to be supported by groups like ISA so we'll be able to return to Guatemala to remove some of the names off of his list or help in a different country where the need is similar.

2 comments:

deveney said...

What a great thing you are doing! I loved reading each individual story and seeing the smiles on their faces. That's got to be very rewarding for you. Thanks for sharing :)

Ancient Greece said...

Another Smart post from you Admin :)