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
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