submitted by Maureen Knabb guest editor


Eduardo was born with many congenital defects including severe right leg and hip deformity, club foot, cleft lip and palate on both sides of his mouth, and scoliosis.  Shortly after he was born, Eduardo’s father abandoned the family. Eduardo’s mother Yurbis has dedicated the past five years of her life to her son.

In five years Eduardo has endured 17 surgeries.  Some of these surgeries were done to lengthen his leg, others to repair his foot, and the surgeries by Rotaplast were to repair his mouth. 

Every year for the past four years Eduardo and his mother have traveled from the small town of Sabaneta de Tunapuicito, 3 hours from Cumana.  He was not a candidate for surgery the last two years because the previous surgeries made another one too dangerous.  Each time, on the long bus ride home, Eduardo asked why his mother was weeping.  This time, Eduardo’s mother is happy because he has been cleared for surgery to have his mouth repaired.

You might think that these physical hardships would negatively affect Eduardo’s attitude, but you have never met such a positive, happy boy.  He is in the first grade, and loves playing computer games and watching movies.  He sometimes feels sad because he wants to understand why he is not like the other kids.  He uses a walker at home but does not take it to school because a few of the children make fun of him. 

Eduardo is adored by his mother and grandparents.  They travel twice each month to Orthopedica Infantile Hospital in Caracas.  The hospital is 700 km from their home and it takes the family 11 hours to get there.  His mother plans Eduardo’s other surgeries around the annual Rotaplast mission to make sure Eduardo will not miss a chance to be seen by the Rotaplast doctors.

Rotaplast comes to fix smiles, but, in this case, Eduardo brings a smile to all of us.