First, let’s meet nine-year-old Andres. He sits in the queue with his mother and father, his perpetual smile and contagiously happy energy hard to miss. He’s received a wheelchair before, but is here today to be fitted for a 'Stand with Me' standing frame to help with his spinal cord development and posture.
Before he was born, Andres was initially diagnosed with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, paraplegia, among other conditions. Thanks to operations as a baby, many of these ailments were corrected. However, Andres’ mobility issues remained. He was issued his first wheelchair at two years old – from Hope Haven Guatemala. This chair grew with him, enabling him to go to school and experience a robust childhood with his schoolmates, friends and family.
While a wheelchair afforded their son additional mobility, they also pursued possibilities above and beyond for their only boy (Andres has two sisters). So when Andres was accepted as a part of a Mexican charity telethon that awarded him specialized therapy in Mexico, his father made Andres’ rare chance at this treatment top priority, quitting his job to ensure travel back and forth for their son.
His mother shares that Andres is in third grade, and despite his health struggles, he’s never fallen behind in school or missed out. He’s also a sports lover – part of the National Youth Badminton team and an avid Barcelona soccer fan. When looking to the future, he declares that he wants to be a lawyer, while his mother adds that he also aspires to walk one day (a feat they’ve been told is not medically impossible).
Now Andres beams as he poses for a photo in his new standing frame. After flashing lights, shuffles of paperwork, measurements, and waiting for the next instruction, a smile still remains the face of little Andres. Before we leave the trio, Daniel and Herly reveal their prayer for Andres: happiness and independence.
We’ve all heard this one: Life changes in an instant.
Sixteen years ago, Ampro was merely a pedestrian on the sidewalk when she was randomly struck by a vehicle. She sustained a brain injury, and was diagnosed partially paraplegic. At the time of the accident, Ampro had been in the midst of her studies to become a policewoman, a lifelong aspiration. Her world was turned upside down by the occurrence, impacting her physical capabilities, future ambitions, and spirit. She describes this period as an extremely difficult part of her life.
With help that she attributes to God and her mother, Ampro eventually regained some mobility. Her mother also refused to let Ampro give up on her dreams, and advocated for her daughter to work in the law enforcement field despite her physical disability.
She primarily provides counseling and support to widows and widowers of police officers killed in action, along with those injured in the line of duty.
Another part of Ampro’s life that brings her joy? Her children. Doctors once told her that she would be unable to have children. She is now proudly a mother to a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. Her wheelchair and walker make life as a working mother a little easier, and today she is here at Hope Haven Guatemala for a new wheelchair. The majority of the time she is able to get around solely with her walker, but a well-functioning wheelchair allows her to keep up with the quick pace of her colleagues and family. Her journey to the distribution site today is one of unmistakable resilience.