IsaÃ CaÃ±i Basillo is 4 years old and lives with his parents and two brothers in the district of Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima. IsaÃ has a cleft palate and suffers from Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusing together of skull bones, fingers and toes during pregnancy. A cleft palate can cause problems with speaking and feeding, whilst Apert syndrome can lead to impeded movement and slowed intellectual development. Before IsaÃ’s birth, his parents had recently settled in a new house in Villa Maria del Triunfo to enable them to work, be close to their parents and start a family of their own. When his mother, Maria, was pregnant with IsaÃ she was told all was ok and he was going to be a healthy child like his elder brother. It wasn’t until Maria was approaching her due date that she was warned there may be some abnormalities with the pregnancy.
Following IsaÃ’s birth, it became clear that he was suffering; his hands and feet were webbed and there were some abnormalities also with the structure of his skull and face. IsaÃ spent his first few months in a children’s hospital where he was given the medication and treatment necessary for his condition. He was then treated at another hospital for a year where he was diagnosed with sindactilia- the webbing of hands and feet, related to Apert syndrome. Maria told us of the struggle her son’s condition created for her:
“From the moment I first held my child I knew he was a gift from God. However, it was also a shock for me. I was thankful to God for the child I had been given but I was also worried that people would be embarrassed about him and the way he looked”. Maria described how she would love for IsaÃ to be able to have the same movement and freedoms as his brothers which is what an operation would allow. However, she also told us how she worries as she sees IsaÃ growing and knows what treatment he needs, but her and her husband cannot afford to pay for it. “All I want is my son and I want to be able to give him the movement and independence that I have and that his brothers all have”.
After meeting IsaÃ and his mum at a mobile clinic last April, MEDLIFE funded IsaÃ’s first surgery on his cleft palate and everything went well. IsaÃ’s feeding and speaking processes have improved and he has even started going to school. He has another appointment with our doctors scheduled for July and if all goes well he may have his next surgery for the palate as early as August. After the second surgery, IsaÃ will need to wait one year before he can have the operation for Apert syndrome which will allow the webbing of his hands and feet to be fixed to enable improved movement. If the surgery goes well it will lead to a new start for IsaÃ and his family, who will no longer be restricted by his disability. It will also allow his mother’s wish of giving him the same movement and freedoms as his brothers to become a reality.