BOGO, Cebu — Mario Dacal Jr. was allowed to be absent from his classes last March 9, a Wednesday. Something good was going to happen to him, and he had all the support of his teachers, family, and friends. He would be receiving a wheelchair—something he had longed to have all his young life.
Mario didn’t have any feet. He was born that way. Doctors called his condition congenital phocomelia of his lower extremities.
When he was old enough to go to school, his mother had to carry him there herself before going to work. This became increasingly difficult to do because he was getting heavier. His school bag was also becoming heavier each year. Nonetheless, his mom persevered. Her son’s education was important to her.
Mario’s mom also made sure he was brought up not feeling he has less than other kids. The nine-year-old is already active on Facebook. Three of his six siblings live away from home and he loves to connect with them online. They dote on him being the youngest.
He is also intrigued with computers and plays games with his friends. He wants to be a computer engineer because, he explains, you don’t have to get off your seat to be one. People around him also say that he doesn’t sit still all his days. “He plays basketball,” they boast. “He can even swim.”
When Mario arrived at Operation Blessing’s wheelchair distribution site, he realized he wouldn’t be the only wheelchair recipient. There were several wheelchairs from Free Wheelchair Mission lined up in a row, some already with occupants.
He watched with mounting excitement as a wheelchair was wheeled towards him. Then a big man, a local volunteer, picked him up and placed him on it. It felt good. He wanted to try it out immediately, but another Operation Blessing volunteer was still busy tightening the bolts. Then he had to patiently listen to the speeches of several important people, including the mayor, and a lecture on how to use the wheelchair.
Finally, Mario and his wheelchair were ready. He tested the wheels, moved back and forth a little, and then smiled up.
“Now I would be able to feed our chickens by myself,” he said. “I’d be able to help my parents do our chores.”
Mario endeared himself to the Operation Blessing team when, after being asked have his photo taken, he gamely climbed down from his wheelchair and posed for the camera like a child celebrity.
Bright child that he is, Mario has already heard of prosthetics. “I’m thankful for the wheelchair,” he admits, “though I still dream of having my own feet. For the meantime, this wheelchair will do me a lot of good.”
HELP US BRING GIFTS OF MOBILITY!
By partnering with Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, you help us distribute wheelchairs units from Free Wheelchair Mission to provinces around the country. Call (02) 477-7802 today to partner with us!
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