Mission Honduras LeMars: Cristobal's Story
Mother Theresa (1910-1997)
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  Donations helped Cristobal Vidal Diaz of El Guante, Honduras, to be tested at Floyd Valley Hospital and Medical Associates in Le Mars, IA, so that he could receive a specific diagnosis for his bone disease. The nine-year-old boy often falls down and has minimal feeling in his legs. His joints are often hot from infection, according to Francis Seivert, who has served as team leader on Mission Honduras LeMars trips to El Guante.

Cristobal at Floyd Valley

  Cristobal only recently had teeth grow in his mouth, with none in his earliest years. The 2004 medical mission team found that he was also anemic.

Cristobal's Blood Test

  The boy's condition was first discussed in Le Mars after Catherine Withrow, a Gehlen Catholic graduate, was part of a 2001 medical mission to the Honduran village with Seivert. After the 2003 medical team from Mission Honduras LeMars saw Cristobal's condition, Dr. Tom Duncan talked with Richard Seivert, director of the nonprofit program.

Cristobal with Dr. Thomas Duncan

  "We might fail, but we might as well try," they decided in seeking medical help for the boy.

Cristobal arrives at Floyd Valley

  Larger hospitals turned down their requests to diagnose the boy's condition. Personnel at Medical Associates and Floyd Valley, as well as other donors, contributed to make the tests possible there for Cristobal.

Cristobal with Mrs. Moir

  His mother signed a power of attorney to Tacha Alvarado. Traveling with the boy, Alvarado could sign for medical treatments and make decisions on his behalf.

  Cristobal received tests that were not available in Honduras. The tests proved tiring for the boy, but he was eager to give out hugs the next day with friends from Floyd Valley Hospital and Gehlen Catholic School.

Cristobal undergoes tests at Floyd Valley Hospital

  The two visitors stayed with Tom and Cecilia Henrich in Le Mars. Cecilia teaches language and religion classes at Gehlen. Cristobal liked playing with the Henrich children during his stay and enjoyed a day of classes at Gehlen Catholic Elementary School, Richard Seivert indicated.

Cristobal spends a day at Gehlen Catholic Elementary School

  Cristobal received a diagnosis of his bone disease. The nine-year-old suffers from chronic multi-focal osteomyelitis, a bone infection. At this time it appears the infection is in check and no damage is presently occurring, Seivert has been told.

  "Having had this condition for years, Cristobal's joints have been severely affected and growth plates have been damaged," said Seivert, who is also guidance counselor at Gehlen Catholic High School. "We don't know if they will respond. At this time we do not know whether his bones will continue to grow at the same rate or at all."

  A specialist consulted in Omaha recommended monitoring the boy for the next six months, watching for bone growth. While at times Cristobal suffers from a great deal of pain, he is reported as getting along all right at the current time. Surgery is still a possibility, but it is now more important to see if the damaged bones and joints will grow, Seivert has been told by doctors. Cristobal has been given specific instructions for his improvement and care, he said.

Cristobal and Pat Warner

  "If we have to bring him back to the country for surgery in the future, we will," said Seivert.

  The doctor at the new medical clinic in El Guante, built with the help of Mission Honduras LeMars, has been asked to monitor the boy's growth.

Cristobal visits with Dr. Thomas Duncan

  Dr. Tom Duncan will continue to check Cristobal's condition, according to Seivert. The Le Mars physician first saw him on a medical mission trip sponsored by Mission Honduras LeMars in January 2003.

Cristobal reading in Honduras

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