of the month
By Rich Petersen
Alan José Bravo Alvizo
You can’t tell from the photo, but seven-year old Alan Bravo Alvizo is sitting in his red wheelchair because he is unable to walk. Alan was born with a form of cerebral paralysis (also known as cerebral palsy) that renders him unable to control his lower extremities or support himself while standing without additional support.
Alan was the product of a normal pregnancy until the sixth month when he and a twin brother were born quite prematurely. His brother did not survive, unfortunately; this is a common occurrence when cerebral paralysis is involved.
Alan lives in Ixtlahuacán with his parents, Karla and Roberto. His mother is a housewife and his father works as a delivery driver for a company in Guadalajara. They have no other children.
Alan has a “form” of cerebral paralysis because this motor deficit can occur in one or more places in the body. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three.
This results in limitation in movement and is often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability, and sometimes even cognition; sometimes a form of CP may be accompanied by epilepsy. CP, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems, and there is no known cure.
Fortunately for Alan, however, he only lacks the muscle control of his lower extremities and has none of the other problems mentioned above. He is a bright boy as you can see in the photo, very good in school and always with a ready smile. He and his father play at “boxing” and Alan loves to watch basketball. And while Alan of course can’t run a soccer ball down the field, he is good enough as a goalie that his friends let him play that position! Kudos to his friends and to his parents for allowing him to participate with other kids his age. This is of utmost importance to the social development of a child with cerebral palsy.
Niños Incapacitados has been paying for Alan’s twice weekly therapy sessions as well as transportation costs to and from Guadalajara; also for a leg brace and several medications. Recently Alan was treated with an injection of botox to help relax the muscles in his legs. As you may recall, botox is now being used in this way to alleviate spasticity and contractures.
We at Niños Incapacitados were delighted to meet Alan and his mother at our last meeting and to have him tell us “thank you” in quite good English. By the way, his mother let us know that Alan had told her the night before he was to be at our meeting that he wanted to “look very nice” and dressed up for us—-and he did.
To meet other of “our” children and to learn more about what Niños Incapacitados does, please join us the second Thursday of each month for our members’ meeting. 10:00 a.m. at the Hotel Real de Chapala in La Floresta. A special and continued THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to our “Sustaining Niños” pledge program which allows us to continue helping sick children here at Lakeside.