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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Sabino!

By Ann Mauzé

This December 30, one of the bravest, pluckiest boys in the area will be celebrating his 13th birthday. Sabino’s story begins when he was born with a meningocele, a form of spinal bifida that forces him to walk with leg braces and crutches and wear diapers due to related incontinence.

Sabino is part of a large and supportive family in Don Francisco, a municipality of San Miguel. While still an infant, he was operated on for a tumor on his spine. As a toddler, he was taken to Centro de Crecimiento (CENCRE) for physical and occupational therapy by his mother until she died when he was three. Then his grandmother continued until she was no longer able. His father has since remarried, and Sabino now has a younger sister in addition to four brothers.

At age five Sabino was brought to Patronato Pro Niños (PPN) for the first time. After a thorough examination, PPN referred Sabino to an urologist specializing in digestive surgery with the hope that an operation could relieve the need for diapers. The procedure was ruled out since the end result would require wearing a colostomy bag instead.

Sabino does not attend school, but he is curious. In the afternoons, when his brothers come home from their classes, he grills them on what they learned that day. As yet, he doesn’t read or write other than his name. A sociable and self-sufficient youngster, Sabino helps his cousins with their chores such as feeding goats, which he manages to do on crutches. And he tends to his own hygienic needs without assistance. When two representatives from Patronato Pro Niños and two from Centro de Crecimiento visited Sabino and his family in their home, each was greeted by the boy with a big smile and a handshake. Asked if he has any pain or discomfort, Sabino stoically replied that he doesn’t.

What can be done for a teen with Sabino’s physical disabilities and emotional fortitude? After the home visit, it was determined by the two agencies that Sabino, accompanied by a family member, would come in to San Miguel once a week for physical therapy and rehabilitation at CENCRE. Patronato Pro Niños is covering the cost of transportation and working with DIF and CENCRE on a continuing basis to address Sabino’s needs holistically.

The next time you moan that you can hardly move, think of Sabino, a gutsy 13-year-old, who spends every day fighting for mobility.

Patronato Pro Niños is entering its 43rd year of providing health and dental care to San Miguel’s neediest children. In 2012, we treated over 8,000 cases in the campo and in our healthcare facility at Avenida Reforma 75A. Teams of volunteers visit elementary schools throughout the municipality to work not only children with chronic special needs, but also those who are ill and require medical care immediately. Donations from individuals comprise the greatest segment of PPN’s funding. For further information on how you can help children like Sabino, please go to our website at or pick up the phone and call Lily at 152-7796.


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