Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
Fernando Gabriel Jiménez Damián

      This little guy is Fernando Gabriel Jiménez Damián, better known to his family as “Fer” (say ‘fair’). Fer is six years old and lives in Chapala with one of his sisters, María de Jesús, age 24.  Fer’s mother has dementia and cannot care for her young son; his father left the home many years ago. María therefore has assumed the care of her little brother, not only because she wants to but also because no one else in the family—there are four other siblings—has offered or even shown interest—an amazingly sad and almost unbelievable situation.
      Luckily, a good friend of María’s, Mirella Villanueva, age 15, who is also little Fer’s godmother, is helping taking care of him. Mirella, by the way, was also helped by Niños Incapacitados. At age 12 she suffered a devastating injury to her right arm and needed several surgeries and skin transplants to help her regain mobility and almost-normal use of that arm. Most of the doctors wanted to amputate the arm, but Mirella refused and decided to do her best at therapy and rehabilitation, and today she can use her right arm without any limitation.
      Fer suffers from chronic renal insufficiency for which he is in need of a kidney transplant. Unfortunately the transplant section of the Hospital Civil is “on hold” due to an investigation into the procedures and practices of the section’s chief surgeon (perhaps you’ve read about this in recent issues of The Guadalajara Reporter).
      Therefore, Fer is having to undergo dialysis at home three times a week. He has an indwelling catheter his upper abdomen to facilitate this.  María and Mirella take charge of this procedure and have become quite expert at it. Fer’s catheter has had to be replaced several times as it manages to “slip out,” so he has been hospitalized during the past few months on more than one occasion. María will be the donor for her little brother’s transplant, but since he has been fairly unstable, the pre-op tests have yet to be done on her. Consequently Niños Incapacitados is assisting with the cost of Fer’s home dialysis, his catheter placement (and replacement), his hospital stay, and eventually we will assist in the cost of his transplant.
      For anyone at Lakeside who would like to find out more about our group and its work, Niños Incapacitados meets the second Thursday of each month at 9:45 in the bar area of the Hotel La Nueva Posada. Please join us and meet some of the families we assist and learn how you can help. Watch for news of our upcoming fundraisers in late November and early February.