Juan Manuel was only a year old when the fire broke out.

He was healthy. He was active. He was his parents’ pride and joy — their lively firstborn son.

They were snuggled up in bed one night, fast asleep, when a spark ignited the dry wooden slats of their urban home in El Salvador.

By the time Juan’s parents woke up and realized what was happening, their house was ablaze.

Flames lapped at the blanket swaddling little Juan. His parents frantically tore it off as they dashed outside to safety, but it was too late.

Juan’s legs were so severely burned that doctors had to amputate to save his life.

Juan is now 31 and lives alone, with no caregiver.

Disability hasn’t stopped him from pursuing a life of independence.

A diligent young man, Juan finished high school and began to study English at a university, but he was unable to complete his degree program due to the cost. He then took some more-affordable computer classes and got a job with the municipal government of his town, Santiago de Maria.

Juan had prosthetic legs for a while, but as he grew and his body changed, the prosthetics were no longer suitable. He needed a wheelchair, so he worked hard to save up enough money to buy one.

However, it was too wide to fit his needs, and it broke down after three years.

FUSAL, our distribution partner in El Salvador, custom-fitted Juan Manuel with a new GEN_3 wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission.

“This one is perfect for me!” he exclaimed. “I couldn’t afford to buy a wheelchair like this, and now, you’ve given me the opportunity of having one at no cost. This wheelchair will help me a lot in my everyday routine and work!”

Juan is known around Santiago de Maria for being friendly, generous, and hard-working. His personality and determination have brought him this far, and the gift of mobility he received because of you will help him go even further.

Thank you for giving the gift of mobility to individuals like Juan Manuel.