Bien viaje, Jose!

Ricky, Jose, and Laura

Bright and early this morning, little Jose boarded an American Airline flight to return to his home in Honduras. He was accompanied by Airline Ambassador, Ina Melen who volunteers her time escorting children traveling alone.

Jose had been hospitalized at Shriners Hospital in Boston after suffering burns from a container of hot molasses. Once again, Shriners transformed this little boy’s life in a matter of weeks. The first time we visited Jose, he was behind plastic on the acute care unit. Yesterday, we joined his going away celebration and delighted in watching Jose, full of giggles, running around the physical therapy room.

Recently, Jose has been living with the Sierra family in Boston. When children are ready for outpatient visits to the clinic and don’t have a place to stay locally, the Sierra family has offered their home. Second to receiving state-of-the-art medical care, the experience of living with a loving family is invaluable. Children have the opportunity to develop physically when they are not in the confines of a hospital setting. They also benefit emotionally by being embraced by people who care. Host families have the opportunity to share a bit of their cultures, as well as, offering new experiences that Honduran children never would have had. Often times, host families continue to be an integral part of the children’s lives, and keep the relationships strong by phone calls and visits. Certainly, the patient isn’t the only one who benefits, host families often comment that it is one of the most meaningful experiences in their lives.

Not everyone has the availability to be a host family but you can still be actively involved by visiting children who are hospitalized locally. Esperanza has an ongoing need of large size suitcases, duffle bags and small carry-on suitcases for the children traveling home. Other appreciated items include: new underwear, gently worn clothing, small toys, Spanish books and MP3 players.

Everyone has the chance to bring a smile to a child…and I guarantee it will do the same for you!

Astrid’s recovery continues…

Astrid at Shriners

In January, 2007, four year old Astrid Ordonez was operated on at Shriners Hospital for Children (Springfield, MA) for a “tethered cord.” Astrid was born with this neurological disorder, which is caused by tissue attachment that limits the movement of the spinal cord.

Astrid has returned for treatment of her left “cavus” foot, a condition of her neurological disorder, which results in a very high arch. The doctors at Shriners have now completed two sureries on her foot. The first one was a tendon release, and the second one required them to insert a wedge of bone into a cut in one of Astrid’s bones, in the middle of her foot.

Astrid is now wearing a full-length cast for six weeks. She will then be x-rayed and it will be determined whether she will require additional casting or if she will be fitted for an AFO(ankle-foot orthosis), a plastic brace which will be inserted into her shoe.

We are grateful Astrid has been given this opportunity for treatment because without it, the disorder is progressive causing sensory and motor problems, as well as, loss of bowel and bladder control.

On April 13th, Astrid will return home to her family in Flores, Honduras.