By Katia Maldonado; Edited by Jeannine d’Entremont-Farrar.
Daniel’s winning smile and sparkling eyes show no hint of his daily struggles. Like most 13-year-old boys, he loves sports and playing with his friends. Perhaps unique from the average adolescent is Daniel’s appreciation for what life offers him every day.
At six months old, Daniel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy caused by lesions in the central nervous system. Although he uses a wheelchair, he attends school and competes in wheelchair athletic competitions. He proudly shows several first and second place medals he’s won.
With the help of a walker, Daniel is able to stand for a few minutes of daily exercises which show his determination and discipline.
When he was six years old, his mother traveled to the United States so she could provide some economic stability for Daniel and his 17-year-old brother, leaving them in the care of their grandmother.
“My mom calls me. She sent me money to buy new clothes because I turned 13 in August,” says Daniel. “I miss her so much and I want to see her again. But I live with my grandmother and she loves me."
“My biggest dream is that Daniel walk,” says Francisca, his grandmother. “I tell God that if he walked one day, that day God can take me because I would go happy seeing my dream come true.”
Daniel’s wheelchair, provided by World Vision thanks to generous sponsors, is a big improvement over the old one he used, which was made for adults and caused pain in his back.
Daniel says: “I like this wheelchair for its colour (sky blue). It’s my size. I’m happy because I’ll be able to do running competitions…and I’m going to win more medals. I’m quick running in the wheelchair when we play as a team.”
Regular physical and speech therapy has allowed Daniel to participate in various competitions and in the Special Olympics held each year in the capital, San Salvador. This year he’s in Grade 3, and his favourite subject is math.
“I would like to be a police officer to help get everything organized,” says Daniel.
Daniel is much-loved in his community for his friendliness, joy and determination.
“My grandson needs riding and water therapies but since it is difficult to give those to him here, we support him with sports and his school lessons. He has many dreams like every boy his age and I know that he will achieve them,” says Francisca.
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