Steps of Hope: Gerardo's Journey

“For as long as I can remember, I have lived with pain in my feet. I don’t remember going one day without having discomfort after playing soccer with my friends or just walking more than usual. I remember being about 10 years old when we noticed that there was a problem, so we decided I would undergo an operation to correct my flat feet. After the surgery, I went almost six months without being able to walk, without being able to play, and sitting by myself during recess and afternoon playtime, and I felt lonely. Before the operation I would say the pain was minor, or rather, I had grown accustomed to living with the pain. After the operation, it was much worse. Through the years, I was seen by several different orthopedists, but nothing seemed to really help.

“However, earlier this year, I traveled to Yucatan along with a staff member from Esperanza Viva to have surgery on one of my feet. In all honesty, I was nervous at the thought of another surgery, but I realized that I was worrying about the procedure and not really seeing the truth of the opportunity I had been given. The surgery was not as painful as I thought it would be; I also have not felt as lonesome in the recovery process as the previous time. I am hopeful and believe that I will have a speedy and complete recovery and that I will be able to walk, play soccer, and live pain free.”

Gerardo Andrade, the young man writing above, came to Esperanza Viva Youth Home in Puebla at age four. He was born with extremely flat feet and suffered constant pain. When he was 10 years old, Esperanza Viva sought out orthopedic intervention with a local doctor. He underwent an operation in which screws were inserted into his feet to correct his condition, but unfortunately the screws were not properly placed, and this made the pain worse. Other orthopedic surgeons recommended that we wait until Gerardo reached age 17 so his feet would finish growing before attempting another intervention.

In February, a special opportunity arose. Gerardo received reconstructive surgery on his left foot by a team of pediatric orthopedic surgeons from the US The doctors who performed his operation free of charge are expectant for Gerardo's speedy recovery, which will include additional trips to Yucatan for rehabilitation. In six months to one year, they hope to do the same surgery on his right foot. Esperanza Viva covered the travel and housing expenses for the trip with the help of a few dedicated supporters in the US

Like Gerardo, many children are faced with situations that are not easy to for a young child to bear without proper care. Conditions vary from physical ailments to deep emotional hurt. Through the vision of integral care, Esperanza Viva Youth Homes tends to the particular set of challenges that each child is facing. It is a great task to raise a child, and Gerardo's path gives proof that in the midst of uncertainty and even pain, there is always hope.