LUZ ESTEPHANIE MACHIAVELLO DEL CASTILLO
In April, 2006, in the small village of Juanjui, in the Amazon Forest region of northern Peru, a just turned four year old girl, Luz Estephanie, walked out her front door to play in her front yard. Just at that moment there was an accident in the roadway and a motorcycle taxi ran into the yard and over Luz. Her right arm was mangled below the shoulder and separated from her body. Her Dad, who was close by, picked her up, wrapped her arm in ice, and started the long trip to Los Niño’s Children’s Hospital in Lima, Peru, fourteen and a half hours away by boat and small plane.
The doctors at Los Niño’s tried their best to reattach Luz’ arm, but could only get a weak pulse. After three days, and much pain, there seemed to be no progress. Luz told her Dad to ask the doctors to remove her arm, which they did.
In January, 2007, a medical team found Luz, still at Los Niño’s Hospital. Luz’ situation was recognized by several nurses from Tampa and a decision was made to try to do something for Luz. We knew what we wanted to do, but we had no idea how to do it. So we contacted everyone we knew and asked them to help. Shriners Hospital in Tampa was contacted and Luz was accepted as a patient for a right arm prosthesis, if, expenses could be found for transportation for Luz and one parent, a place of residence in the Tampa area, and living expenses while they were here.
A medical mission group in Tampa was kind enough to furnish a home. The International liaison for Los Niño’s, contacted American Airlines and they furnished two round trip travel tickets for Luz and her Dad. A solicitation for living expenses, groceries, local transportation, and some local entertainment was started. Over $2000 was raised and arrangements were made for their visit.
Luz arrived in Brandon a week before July 4th, 2007. She watched her first Fourth of July parade in Brandon and had her first dish of ice cream with gummy bears in it. She received her prosthesis and therapy sessions at Shriners, and in September headed back to Juanjui, Peru to resume life as a little girl. All this happened because some people, just like you, wanted to help a little girl they did not know.
Shriners have agreed to treat Luz as a patient as she grows and needs new prostheses until she becomes a legal adult at 18 yrs old.
On December 24, 2008, (Christmas Eve) Luz and her Dad arrived at Tampa International Airport for her first follow up appointment at Shriners. They needed to do a revision on her surgical site and also make some minor adjustments on her prosthesis. Again the local charity was able to provide a residence. Again a local donation program was started by some local Brandon residents. Again we contacted people who we knew and some we didn’t know. But they all had one thing in common. They wanted to help a little girl, they did not know, grow up and live as near a normal life as possible.
This time some donation jars were placed in a few restaurants and business places. About $1500.00 was raised and a local grocery chain furnished groceries for the duration of their visit.
Shortly after Luz and her Dad arrived on Christmas Eve, we were asked to find a place for a second little girl, a triple amputee, from a village near Puno in southern Peru.
NOW MEET VERONICA CONDORI MORROCO
Veronica is the sixth of 8 siblings. She is the daughter of Ynes Morocco Mamani and Dionisio Condori Corcino. They all live together in their small village near Puno in Southern Peru, near Lake Titicaca. The lake is the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,421 ft above sea level, and is not far from Peru's border with Bolivia and Chile.
Her father, Dionisio, is a farmer and grows potatoes and quinoa to provide food for his family. There is not always enough to feed the entire family. One brother is working as an assistant at a small grocery store while her other brother and sisters are still at school. Mom works at home taking care of children.
Veronica no longer attends school. About 1 1/2 years ago in September, she became ill. Her legs became very swollen so her mother took her to a health facility in Puno, about a two hour bicycle ride from their village.
Two days later, October 1, 2007, Veronica was transferred from Puno to the Los Niño’s Hospital for Children in Lima. Her Mom arrived two days later after going back home to raise funds for her transportation to Lima to be with her daughter. Veronica's first surgery was for Fasciitis, trying to get circulation back into her legs. With no success, five days later her legs were amputated just below her hips. She was in PICU at Los Niño’s for three weeks following the surgery. After two months she had her left arm amputated, just above the wrist, due to a complication of Purpura Fulminans.
Veronica was discharged from Los Niño’s Hospital after 14 months, so that she could make the trip to Tampa, with her mother, for procedures at Shriners Hospital.
As with Luz, Veronica and her Mom also stayed in the Brandon area. The funds raised for Luz now needed to be shared among the two families.
Veronica received prosthesis for both legs and her left arm. As with Luz, Shriners has agreed to treat Veronica as a patient as she grows and needs new prostheses until she becomes a legal adult at 18 yrs old.
With the continuing successful results of both Luz and Veronica, a decision was made to establish a charitable foundation to help other children needing medical assistance that is unavailable to them in their home countries but which can be treated here in the US through the kindness and generosity of willing healthcare facilities and doctors. This foundation will become known as
The Luz Fund. Named such because of the first child receiving assistance through this organization and because the name Luz, literally translates to mean Light.
The Luz Fund is now registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) (3) public charity and in the State of Florida, Division of Corporations, as a not-for-profit charitable corporation. As of April 20, 2009, your donations to The Luz Fund could be tax deductible(check with your tax advisor). It also means that if you work with an employer and donate to the United Fund through a payroll deduction plan, you can designate your donation to be directed to The Luz Fund.
All this has happened because a few people asked a few other people, some whom they knew and many they did not know, to help a little girl that none of them knew.
Now, in April 2009, in addition to helping Luz and Veronica, we are looking for placement for a 12 yr old girl, Cruz Maria, who was severely burned over much of her lower body. We also want to help Giacomo Ambruzzini, a 1 yr old boy, born with only a small stump for a left arm.
You can help. You can tell others about The Luz Fund. Together we can show other children from other countries, and their parents, that healthcare professionals, school teachers, truck drivers, administrators, sales people, and many others from the United States they don’t know and we don’t know, care about them.
The Luz Fund
512 White Oak Ave
Brandon, FL 33510