Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
Rubén Barrios Mejía
(one year later)

     Many of you will remember the article last year about this young boy, Rubén Barrios Mejía, and we wanted to follow up on his excellent progress. You may not recognize him from last year’s photograph since he seems to have gotten much taller!
Rubén is now 11 years old. He lives in Chapala with his mother Sandra and his five brothers. He is an excellent student and says he wants to be a lawyer when he is older. He loves playing with his toy cars and, of course, soccer.
     About a year and a half ago while walking home from school and playing along the sidewalk with friends, Rubén was accidentally pushed into the street just at the moment a Chapala bus was passing by. His left foot was crushed by the bus’s wheel. After being treated by the Red Cross and at the Hospital Civil in Guadalajara, Rubén underwent amputation of his left forefoot as there was no other recourse in order to save the remainder of his foot.
     He used a walker and then crutches to get around and was quite mobile; after the wound healed and there was no sign of infection (this process took longer than usual due to poor nutrition), Rubén was fitted with a special sandal, open across the front, so he could attempt putting weight on his injured foot and begin walking again.
     During this time, Rubén’s doctors and therapist were anxious to see if a special orthopedic shoe would help him even more, but further healing of the surgical site had to take place first, and the remaining skin had to heal enough to tolerate a full shoe instead of the sandal.
     Rubén has been using his new shoe for a couple of months now and can walk almost as if he had had no injury. The shoe is specially fitted to his amputated left foot and contains a special support so he can’t bend his foot in the middle, hopefully helping the foot remain as flat as possible. Those from our group who had seen him a year ago were amazed at how well he can now walk across the room.
     Rubén has a follow-up appointment with the orthopedist in June to assess whether or not another surgery might be in order to put his tendons back in place and/or move a tendon from one side to the other in order to facilitate future growth and movement. Hopefully with his excellent progress to date, this surgery won’t be necessary.
     Niños Incapacitados is very happy to have been a part of this young boy’s recovery. At our last monthly meeting both Rubén and his mother thanked the group for all the assistance and support, with Rubén flashing one of his famous smiles.
     Check www.programaninos.org for more information on the organi-zation and how to make a donation to our efforts. Or contact our president, Robin Lawrason at 766-3070 or info@programaninos.org