We can help Solomon walk for the first time!

DSC00242Friends – we need YOUR help to change Solomon’s life.

Solomon had polio as an infant and has always been in a wheelchair. He has a very twisted spine and has lost over half his lung capacity.

Solomon is from a town in S. Gondar called Debre Tabor. He was a solid high school student and has just registered to study computers and database management in college, a good field for someone confined to a wheelchair.

Solomon reports that his classmates were helpful and friendly, and he was never teased. We see amazing kindness here. He is the 4th of 6 kids. His dad is a government worker, and his mom a housewife.

The family assumed there was no treatment, and he never consulted a doctor. However, Solomon’s niece was born with a cleft lip and came to Addis Ababa for surgery. They asked if there is any spine doctor in Ethiopia and were referred to our clinic.

On exam, we were happy to see that while Solomon has the thin legs of a patient who has survived polio, he does have some working muscles, and he’s able to lift 1 leg against gravity and move the other side-to-side.

We immediately saw that this is a kid we can really help. What he needs – and has needed for a decade – is to spend a couple of months in ambulatory traction and then have corrective surgery.

He has good upper body strength and is very flexible, a good sign that his traction will be easy and short – about 2 months – and then have surgery.

Because he has upper arm strength and some leg motion, there is at least a possibility that they can put braces on his legs (making them inflexible) and he could walk for the first time in his life with crutches or with parallel bars. Walking with straight legs and crutches takes a lot of energy, but it may give him mobility which he does not have now.

Certainly, even if he can’t walk after surgery, he will be better because his back will be straight and his lungs expanded.

One of the problems which polio patients face in the second half of their lives is post-polio syndrome which weakens the muscles. If this happens, then having his back straight and lungs expanded may well save his life.

I am excited to be able to send him for surgery. Now we need your help to raise funds for him!

This is a kid whom we can really help and completely turn around his life. Wouldn’t that be amazing – walking upright for the first time at age 18?!

We need your help to send Solomon to FOCOS Hospital in Accra for traction and surgery by the great Dr. Boachie and his team. We need to raise $20,000. Every gift helps, please join in.

All my best,

Rick Hodes, MD, MACP

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