I had the privilege of seeing our crutches in action while visiting Peru in October. Once our plane landed, my good friend Dante picked me up and we immediately visited Vida Peru, a nonprofit that serves underprivileged communities by providing medicines, supplies, and equipment. We had a brief tour of the warehouse before visiting an orthopedic hospital that provides help to the poor in Lima and the surrounding areas.

On the second day a colleague of Dante’s, Irma, picked me up at the hotel and drove with me to the mountainside town where thousands of families with disabled family members lived.  Irma played a key role in bridging any language barriers and in facilitating the crutch deliveries.

I don’t think one is ever fully equipped to deal with that level of poverty. The mountain was scattered with one-room homes, pieced together with wood, plastic, cloth, and any other available materials. There is no running water or plumbing but an abundance of dogs roam the dirt-filled streets looking for scraps.

Seeing the conditions firsthand validated the work that we do and the necessity for trips such as this one. I enjoyed the chance to personally meet and spend time with the recipients of the mobility devices that were donated to Crutches 4 Kids and shipped through our partner Americares. This nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization distributes our crutches to organizations, hospitals, and clinics in areas of need.

Though things were hectic and there was much to be done during my stay, I managed to find time for quiet reflection while on the trip and in the months since. This experience allowed me to understand on a much deeper level how vital our organization is for people who want for nothing and find sheer joy in the things we often take for granted.

By the end of the trip I had a deeper grasp of the horror of extreme poverty, and the strength of the human spirit. 

Without further adieu, I’d like to introduce to you to four incredible individuals who have left an indelible impression on me.

Fourteen-year-old Daniel suffers from Cerebral Palsy and now lives with his aunt after being abandoned by his parents. Though he appeared at first to be extremely shy, he warmed up to us within minutes and smiled wide to show his appreciation. It was humbling to see just how much a pair of crutches would improve his quality of life and allow him to get around safely and comfortably.

Fourteen-year-old Daniel suffers from Cerebral Palsy and now lives with his aunt after being abandoned by his parents. Though he appeared at first to be extremely shy, he warmed up to us within minutes and smiled wide to show his appreciation. It was humbling to see just how much a pair of crutches would improve his quality of life and allow him to get around safely and comfortably.

Eufemia’s story is one I will carry with me forever. This 58-year-old woman lives in a small room with her young son. She was involved in a car accident and could barely walk because of a poorly healed hip injury. She cried tears of joy when we presented her with forearm crutches, because she will now be able to leave her one-room home.

Eufemia’s story is one I will carry with me forever. This 58-year-old woman lives in a small room with her young son. She was involved in a car accident and could barely walk because of a poorly healed hip injury. She cried tears of joy when we presented her with forearm crutches, because she will now be able to leave her one-room home.

Yuleisi, age 11, is from the Amazon part of the Andes and also suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Currently confined to a wheelchair, she is slowly learning how to get around on crutches, something she was unable to afford previously. She had a smile to light up a room and I was grateful to witness the impact that mobility will soon have on her day-to-day life.

Yuleisi, age 11, is from the Amazon part of the Andes and also suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Currently confined to a wheelchair, she is slowly learning how to get around on crutches, something she was unable to afford previously. She had a smile to light up a room and I was grateful to witness the impact that mobility will soon have on her day-to-day life.

Last, but certainly not least, is the story of young Jorge, a sweet 11-year-old soccer enthusiast (who even got to meet famous Argentinian player Lionel Messi). Though he is missing a lower left limb and was in need of a pair of crutches, one would never know he has suffered because of a missing prosthetic. Like so many others we met while on our trip, his smile tells it all.

To learn more about Crutches 4 Kids and why it’s so important that we bring mobility devices to children in less fortunate areas, please check out our short video.

Crutches 4 Kids is excited to announce its very first annual NYC Crutch Drive between May 12th-May 18th! With more than 30 different drop-off locations in all five boroughs, this Crutch Drive will help us collect thousands of crutches for kids in need and spread the word about this essential program. Find out more by clicking here!

Ken Shubin Stein
Co-Founder/Chairman
Crutches 4 Kids

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