Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
Alfredo Ceja Reyes

     Say “hello” to Alfredo Ceja Reyes with the Bart Simpson look alike haircut. Alfredo is seven years old and in first grade where he is a good student.  Alfredo lives in Rancho del Oro with his family, Mom Maricela, who is a housekeeper for several families, Dad Americo, who works in construction and farming, and three sisters, Ana Guadalupe, Jessica and Gabriela.
     At about the age of eight months Alfredo’s mom noticed that he couldn’t put weight on his right foot but rather walked on the toes of that foot. What had happened was that his right Achilles tendon had not developed properly and was stretched and taut, unable to "relax" enough for Alfredo to put his foot flat on the ground.
     His family naturally was very concerned and began taking Alfredo for therapy to DIF in Chapala, but after several months with no real progress, they took him to the Centro de Salud where he was examined and the family was told the boy would need surgery to correct the problem. 
     In the meantime, Alfredo became a “client” of Niños Incapacitados and received a pair of orthopedic shoes in an attempt to help straighten out the tendon. This, too, was not successful so the family was put in touch with the Shriner’s group here at Lakeside.  The Shriner’s help with orthopedic problems for children in many countries, and in Mexico all work is done out of Mexico City.
     Unfortunately for many families, Alfredo’s family included, the medical assistance requires several trips to the capital, sometimes for several days at a time, and neither Alfredo’s mother or father could afford to be away from work for that long a time.
     Back at the Chapala Centro de Salud, the doctors there recommended an orthopedist in Guadalajara who was willing to perform the surgery, and thanks to one of his Alfredo’s father’s employers, the money was obtained and the surgery performed, lengthening the tendon.  Much of Alfredo’s recovery then depended on allowing the new tendon to heal without weight being put on the foot.  Thus his mother had to carry him everywhere at all times, an increasingly difficult task as Alfredo grew and became heavier.
     Again, Ninos Incapacitados became involved and obtained a wheelchair (fire engine red) for Alfredo, allowing both him and his mother some much  needed rest and ease of mobility. As the tendon continued to heal, Alfredo’s mother has been taking him to physical therapy three times a week; the therapy continues at present and Alfredo subsequently has been able to leave the wheelchair and substitute it for a walker, and now he is able to walk without even that.  The slight limp in his gait hopefully will be helped with continued physical therapy.
     With his bright smile and eyes, Alfredo is well on his way to recovery with the help of many friends, but especially with the help of his family who are doing all they can to assure his being able to walk on his own.
     If you would like to find out more about our organization, please feel free to attend our monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. (September through June) at La Nueva Posada in Ajijic.  Our group is looking for new members, volunteers and donors to help our Mexican families in need.
     Check our website at www.programaninos.org for more information on the organization and how to make a donation to our efforts. Or contact our president, Robin Lawrason at 766 3070 or info@programaninos.org