Pictured above is Marli, a nurse in Sao Paulo, Brazil and a special friend to miraclefeet. Marli began working with clubfoot patients over a decade ago and has since committed herself to treating children suffering from talipes. Marli doesn’t just help patients for a day though—she heals them for a lifetime.
The Ponseti method, the gold standard treatment for clubfoot in developing countries, involves a series of castings—six to eight over a two month period. These castings require no cutting or surgery, so they are pain free for children. But casts have to be removed. Some nurses or doctors will use a saw to remove casts. Though this won’t hurt the child, imagine how scary and traumatic the appearance of a razor-edged tool is to an already confused infant or toddler. Recall that casts are removed six to eight times, too.
But this method of cast removal is not the only way. miraclefeet partners with nurses like Marli who opt for a much gentler, less intimidating method. Marli simply soaks a child’s casted feet in warm water until the casts loosen. It’s peaceful for young patients and just as effective. And Marli uses this extra soaking time to perform another very important step in the Ponseti method: educating moms.
After the series of castings, the feet are completely corrected. But to ensure the corrected feet don’t relapse, patients wear a foot abduction brace for another several years. This step is really important to ensure the successful treatment continues. And it’s up to the parents to make sure their child wears this brace every day. Often it can appear the brace isn’t necessary—the child’s feet look great, they are walking around—but continued use is imperative. Marli understands this and acts as a counselor, talking to mothers from the very beginning about why treatment and the brace are so important. This thoughtfulness and extra care are why Marli’s clubfoot clinic has such wonderfully low relapse rates.
miraclefeet is proud to partner with doctors, counselors and nurses like Marli who, with the funds provided by generousmiraclefeet donors, provide thorough and gentle care to young clubfoot patients in developing nations around the globe. Over the next year, we are excited to build upon existing partnerships, like in Brazil with Marli, and expand to new locations and clinics, in need of extra funds and assistance, who are doing incredible work.
To see more Photos of the Day: twitter.com/miraclefeet
To learn about other clinics miraclefeet currently partners with: miraclefeet.org
To donate and help “miracle” workers like Marli: https://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1001406
Meet Lauren Wall, our Program Manager. Lauren is constantly thinking of ways to improve our programs, website and social media. She has built wonderful relationships with both the doctors in miraclefeet clinics around the world, as well as many of the patients. In fact, we are always wondering a little bit if she’s going to bring a few patients back with her! Here’s what she had to say when I asked her a few questions about herself:
How did you get started with miraclefeet?
I had been working in global health for a while and was looking and was interested in finding a program that used local doctors to treat patients, and I found miraclefeet.
What is one of your favorite memories in the field?
At Christmastime last year I was in Brazil. One of our patients, Yasmin, was getting braces for the first time. It was the first time she had ever worn shoes. She was upset, didn’t like the brace, and didn’t know what was going on. When her doctor’s visit was over, I gave her a Christmas present that I had brought her, a Doctor Barbie. All of a sudden the tears stopped and her little arms wrapped around my neck.It was this genuine happiness.
What do you love about your job?
I love that we’re so small and there’s a lot of different things to do. Every day is different and everything I do makes an impact.
What do you not love so much about your job?
Oh gosh, I don’t hate anything about my job! I don’t like thinking about all the children in the world with clubfoot, it’s so overwhelming how much work there is to be done. But it helps that every day we are getting closer, and every day we are helping children.
Are you strictly a 9-5 outfit? Or are you a workaholic that works into the night, holidays, and weekends?
I don’t like to say I’m a workaholic. I fall into that “Live to Work” category and sometimes working from 9-5 doesn’t work for m, so its nice to have my laptop and be able to work from wherever and whenever I want. Technology really makes working remotely so easy. I like to be able to answer e-mails while sitting in the car, not when I’m driving of course!
Do you like to listen to anything at work?
Not really. Silence, I guess. Sometimes I listen to NPR or a podcast.
What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?
I like to run. I like to read. And I like to drink coffee. There will never be a run long enough, a book thick enough or a cup of coffee large enough.
What was your favorite cartoon as a child?
I actually hated cartoons as a child! I only liked television shows that featured people. Looney Tunes was the bane of my existence as a 7 year old. I did love Nick at Nite, especially I Love Lucy.
What are your 3 great loves in life?
1. My mom.
2. Children, it’s so endearing how they depend on us for everything, how vulnerable and innocent they are
3. Chocolate cake…or maybe I Love Lucy.
Happy Photo Friday! Do you remember Daniel? He is the youngest of 6 children and leaves his home at 5am with his mother to go to his clubfoot appointments. Luckily, as you can see, he is now wearing his brace and his appointments are less frequent! When I saw this picture and saw how big he’s gotten, I could wait to share it!