Marcelo


Were you wondering who this cute little boy was?  This is baby Marcelo, waiting to get his tenotomy.  Marcelo comes to the clubfoot clinic at Hospital da Baleia in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, every week with his mother.  His 7 year old sister, who lives in another state, was also born with clubfoot.  She, however, got surgery, and now has many problems walking.  Dr. Gilberto has encouraged their mother to bring her to their state and to the clinic, as the Ponseti Method can still help her.

After his tenotomy, Marcelo will wear another cast until he is ready for his first brace!  His mother said even with his casts on, he scoots around.  She can only imagine how much he’ll be crawling around once he gets his brace!

Riquelme

These photos of little Riquelme and her parents, Thamires and Alessandro, make me think of what Dr. Ponseti once said,

"When parents are faced with this disaster of seeing a baby born with clubfeet, they get to be very depressed. When they go to the doctor and are told that their baby must have surgery, they are sad. But when they can see that this deformity is nothing, that is a very easy thing to correct and the child is normal, they have hope."

July is ‘Make a Difference to a Child Month’

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Did you know that July is Make a Difference to a Child Month? Did you further know that miraclefeet believes that every month should be dedicated to enriching the lives of children? That’s why we work hard to ensure children in developing nations such as Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua and India can walk normally and treat clubfoot with a non-invasive procedure using the Ponseti Method.

We have numerous stories about children who can now walk, run and play with their friends without the shame and stigma attached to clubfoot. A lot of these inspirational stories can be found on our website and we’d love to add more with your help. So how can you make a difference? Easy!

By giving to our Summer of Miracles Challenge you can help give the gift of walking to a child forever. You merely go online to our secure form and fill out the necessary information and hit send. It’s that easy. The money will be used to provide treatment to children, buy plaster and supplies for casting or for leg braces.

You can help children like Alino, Alan or Deborah who have already benefited from miraclefeet and its team of international doctors. Help make a difference in the life of a child this month and donate to miraclefeet today!

Clubfoot treatment on a 2 year old in Brazil

Alan lives in a children’s home, but the workers are very attentive and concerned with his treatment as they know it is vital for his chance at adoption. He is almost two years old, but has never received treatment before this year. He was removed from his parents’ home because of his mother and father’s drug addiction. He is accompanied by a different shelter staff member each time he visits the clinic.

Daniel’s clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti Method

 Daniel Emanuel is the youngest of six children.  He lives with his mother, father, and five siblings in Cotia, more than 30 miles from the miraclefeet partner clinic in Sao Paulo.  To make each appointment, they leave their house at 5 a.m. in order to walk and take two buses to reach the clinic by 8 a.m. Daniel Emanuel’s father is a mason and his mother was a maid, but lost her job when she started taking so much time off to bring Daniel Emanuel to his appointments.  She shows up every week no matter what, as she knows that the appointments are the only way to give her son the gift of walking. 

 Dr. Laura says: “These parents deal with a lot of basic problems, but they love their children and are very thankful for the treatment they are given.” We are honored and humbled to work with such great doctors and parents who are committed to treating their clubfoot children. It truly is a miracle to see the transformation of a child’s feet during the treatment process. Kudos to everyone involved!

clubfoot treatment by miraclefeet in Brazil

Heloisa lives with her mother and brother in a city called Rafard, 90 miles from Sao Paulo, and the miraclefeet partner clinic.  Each week, they leave their home at 4 a.m. and take a van from Rafard city hall that brings 10 patients from the small city to be treated in São Paulo’s Hospitals. In order to return to Rafard, they must wait for all 10 patients appointments to finish and for the van to return.  Heloisa’s mother, Juliana, used to work as a maid, but she was fired after Heloisa was born because she took so much time off to travel with her daughter.  Heloisa’s father deserted the family at her birth.  Each month he sends them a meager amount of money to cover food and rent for their apartment.  Dr. Laura says that “Juliana is a thoughtful mother, who genuinely worries about her daughter.” Still, with all these obstacles in the way, Heloisa received the proper clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti Method. As you can see by the images, it was a huge success!

Brazil – The Work Continues! – PART II

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miraclefeet’s Lauren Wall & Chesca Colloredo are pictured here with clubfoot patient, Nathalyn, (pictured in pink) with her grateful mother and grandmother

By Chesca Colloredo – Managing Director, miraclefeet

Continued from our visit on Monday to HU-USP in Brazil, Dr. Ferriera wants to work on reducing the time it takes for children born with clubfoot to get referred to her clinic.  It is currently a multi-step, bureaucratic process.  We had hoped to meet with the director of the hospital to get her support and input around this initiative, but she was called away at the last minute for Ministry of Health meetings.  We hope to catch her on Friday when we are back in Sao Paulo.

To that end, miraclefeet's program in Sao Paulo is small, but a great model for how to implement an effective clinic.  We talked about the need to identify and support additional clinics in the four other regions of the city since Dr. Ferreira’s clinic can really only serve the western part of Sao Paulo.  She suggested contacting Dr. Alejandro Lorenco.  A quick phone call found him to be enthusiastic and interested in meeting with us on Friday when we are back in the city.  Events like this show the value of local partnerships and in basing our program around committed local champions who can help us navigate the best path to long term sustainability. 

Stay tuned for more updates!

Brazil – The Work Continues! – PART I

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Dr. Laura Ferreira, her casting technician, Malia, and a student nurse, putting the third cast on a six week old baby.

Post by Chesca Colloredo – Managing  Director, miraclefeet

Lauren (our new program manager…more on that later) and I arrived in Sao Paulo on Monday morning and headed straight to Hospital Universidade (HU-USP) to visit Dr. Laura Ferreira’s miraclefeet-supported clubfoot clinic and see children undergoing treatment. Two-year-old, Eric, ran up and down the corridor with normal toddler energy and it was hard to believe he once suffered from clubfoot. Seven-week-old, Victor, was having the last set of his casts applied before his tenotomy next week. These two examples illustrate how treatment can be fast and easy when started at an early age.

Dr. Laura’s program has a very strong team in place thanks to extra personnel provided by hospital administration who continue to be impressed by miraclefeet’s support and interest in her clubfoot clinic.  She has nurses who soak the babies’ casts off just before she sees them to minimize any chance of relapse and to ensure the process is gentle and comfortable.  Her casting technician, Malia, and a nurse trainee help her with casting, which maximizes her time.  She also has two physical therapists who work with the children at the bracing phase to check the feet for signs of relapse, to fit the braces and to enter patient information.  To round out her team, she has a social worker who explains the treatment process and educates parents, as well as placing phone calls to nearby maternity hospitals to explain that free treatment for clubfoot is available at HU-USP.  This is definitely a model for success and one we will work to achieve in other hospitals.

In the course of our conversations, Dr. Ferreira explained that the miraclefeet patient database has helped allow the team to work seamlessly since all members of the team can access patient records as needed without chasing down paper files.  Laura said they do not keep any paper records for the clubfoot children thanks to our system.  She had a few ideas for tweaks to the system that we will incorporate into our current redesign to make the system even easier to use.

Stay tuned for Part II of this post!