Changing Yeffre's world

Yeffre Ovando, age three, came to Michigan from Honduras hoping that soon he would be able to walk.

Yeffre’s problem was a difficult one: he had been born without shinbones, and his feet turned inward at a dramatic angle.  The result was that he could not walk, but only crawl or scoot around on his bottom.  Unless all that changed, a life of begging on Honduran streets awaited him.

But Healing the Children came into his life, bringing along Dr. Christopher Lee, the company of Wright & Filippis, and Mary Ann Uznis.  Dr. Lee, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, operated on Yeffre at Bon Secours Hospital in Grosse Pointe, performing a bilateral amputation – removing Yeffre’s legs below the knee –
so that he could be fitted for prostheses.  Enter Wright & Filippis, makers of prosthetics, and prosthetist Eric Burzynski, who built and fitted Yeffre’s new legs.  Mary Uznis, his physical therapist, taught him how to use them – and, yes, to walk.

Yeffre’s host family, Bob and Marge Padalino and their children, of Grosse Pointe Woods, say that the most memorable event of his visit was his first walk outdoors.  “He was the happiest child
I have ever seen,” Marge says.  “He could not contain his happiness and was squealing for joy.”

That’s why we keep trying to change the world, one child at a time

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