Lilian and her sister, Maimy, boarded a bus in the highlands of Guatemala early one morning, filled with eager anticipation for what the day would bring.

They peered out the windows, watching the golden rays of dawn rise above the lush green countryside. They rarely got to enjoy such scenery, so they didn’t mind the bumpy, four-hour bus ride down a winding, rocky, mountain road.

Their destination: Hilario Galindo Hospital.

Lilian is 34 and barely weighs 60 pounds. She contracted polio when she was 7 years old and lost all sensation from the waist down, leaving her incontinent and without mobility.

She hated being stuck at home, where she would spend her days lying in bed or sitting on a small, uncomfortable plastic chair. She would sometimes develop pressure sores because of this.

When Lilian and Maimy arrived at the hospital, a team of physical therapists began to fit her for a wheelchair, taking measurements and preparing the right seat size to ensure her safety and comfort. They also fitted a wheelchair to Maimy, who, like her sister, cannot feel or move her lower body. Maimy has also lived with a disability for most of her life.

As Lilian and Maimy settled into their new wheelchairs, the therapists asked them what they thought of these free gifts.

Lilian’s smile said it all.

Lilian (l) and Maimy (r) have always been close. Now, they can continue to do things together—like explore the world beyond the confines of their home.

There are others like Lilian and Maimy, waiting with eager anticipation for the gift of mobility—and with it, the gifts of freedom, independence, and renewed hope.

Would you consider giving that gift to someone today?



Don Schoendorfer