A heart warming story from Dr. Steve Mora
How Many People Does It Take To Give A Young Peruvian Boy A New Leg?
There was once a group of folks in Arequipa Peru who wanted to help their 17 yo boy get a prosthetic leg. The boy's name was Jose Hugo of Arequipa. One year prior in July of 2012 Jose had had an amputation of his left leg for the treatment of Osteosarcoma. He had been given 6 months to live. His amputation and subsequent treatment was successful. One year later he was still healthy just missing his left leg from above the knee joint. Getting a leg prosthesis in his part of the world with little income was impossible. In an act of desperation the family sent an email asking for help to one person who sent it to another and then another. Eventually it reached my friend and mentor Ralph Kuon MD who sent it to me. He said " Steven can you help"? Upon reading the email in Jan of this year I thought there was no possible way that I could help this boy. It just didn't seem likely that I'd be able to coordinate the measuring building and shipping of a custom made prosthetic leg. I don't know why I thought it was a hopeless situation but i did. A couple of months later I received another email once again asking for help. One day sometime in April after my bday I thought " why would this not be possible". I have a lot of friends and resources. Why not give this project a fighting chance? I thought of the Jose being tied up to his 2 crutches forever. It didn't feel right. My thinking started to change. I felt differently. I felt this project was certainly possible. i started making some calls and sending emails around March. . Chad Marquis from Scope Orthotics in Orange replied one day. He said "no prob I can build it". I could not believe what he just said. I quickly emailed Jose Hugo's family the news. They knew their prayers had been answered. I did too. Chad and I did some coordinating w Jose Hugo's contacts. We received pics of the measurements we requested. Chad went to work in May. I picked up the leg on July 2. I left for Peru July 3. I handed off the leg to Father Marcio, Jose's teacher, in Lima on July 4. He packed it and shipped it to Arequipa. Jose received it 5 days later. The pic below shows the leg being brought to his house. Look around at the environment. Its an extremely modest place. Just before he put on HIS new prosthetic leg he called me. I was seeing patients in Huancavelica Peru on my medical mission when I received the call; I was in a remote city faraway from him. He sounded so happy, young, appreciative and thankful. I was so happy that finally for the first time ever I had made contact with Jose Hugo. He sounded like a good person. He said he would put it on as soon as I got off the phone. I have to admit after i spoke to him I got very choked up. I had to step aside from seeing patients for a few minutes. My emotions were due to the profound and pure happiness I was feeling. Its the type of happiness one feels after something wonderful and beautiful happens. I was happy for Jose Hugo. The pics below tell the rest of the story. The last pic of Jose, family and friends says it all.
SO......How Many People Does It Take To Give A Young Peruvian Boy A New Leg?
Alfonso Aguera Moran
Maria del Pilar
Ralph Kuon MD
Chad Marquis Orthotist
And most importantly a semi-helpful Peruvian airport Customs agent
= A VILLAGE
....IT TAKES A VILLAGE MY FRIENDS.....
Photo Credit: Steve Mora