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news News Friday, March 16, 2018 Friday, March 16, 2018 10:19 AM - Friday, March 16, 2018 10:19 AM

Talented mother and son duo thrive together and are thankful for care at Shriners Hospitals for Children

Diana and Donato succeed in singing and soccer

Talented mother and son duo thrive together and are thankful for care at Shriners Hospitals for Children

Diana smiles proudly standing next to her son, Donato, as they both share their success story. Diana never imagined that her son, born with clubfoot, would be standing and running on his own two feet, and the star of his soccer team. “When I see him score a goal, it means so much to me. Others might just see it as a point on the board, but to me it’s a reflection of all that we have done to get to this point”.

Donato first entered the Shriners Hospital health care system in Mexico City at just 2 months of age. “We lived in Guanajuato, Mexico, and heard about the excellent care that the Shriners provided. The closest thing to us at that time was the hospital in the capital," says Diana. She shares that she and her son would begin this chapter of their life with regular visits for Donato's clubfoot condition. “During our first visits at the hospital, we would see teenagers with similar conditions walking, with no difficulty at all. I would look at my son and hope and pray that one day that would be him”.

The team in the Mexico City Shriners Hospital put all of their effort into making sure that this dream became a reality. Donato spent 11 years in this hospital, undergoing seven surgeries in total. According to him, many of these are but a distant memory, “Most of the focus of the surgeries was in the tendons of both of my feet. My mom tells me that my first surgery was when I was 11 months, but I don’t remember that at all”. 

A few years later, the family moved to Houston, Texas, and began following up with the medical team here. Diana shares some of the positivity she has witnessed at the Houston Shriners Hospital, “In Mexico my son mostly underwent surgeries and rehab. It is in Houston that I’ve finally been able to see him move around and walk with no problems. One cannot even tell that he was born with this condition."

Now at 14 years of age, Donato has regular follow-up visits in Houston and has thrived as a patient and a young soccer player. “I’ve been playing soccer for five years now. I’ve basically played every position, but started off as a goalkeeper. After my time here in the Shriners Hospital of Houston, I’ve noticed that I have a lot more strength in my feet, so I can play more of the outside positions. Now, I am the forward for my team and score many of the goals”. This young man’s drive and success has inspired many of those around him, including his own mother who has now adopted singing. “As I saw him get stronger thanks to the great team at Shriners Hospitals, I became inspired to sing. I thought to myself that anyone can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it!” Diana, is a versatile singer with a style ranging from mariachi music, to ballads and a few songs in English.

This mother and son duo represent a world of talent. While Donato has led his soccer team into a championship that resulted in his team winning the trophy, Diana has sung in various venues, including a performance during the festivities that took place in Houston for the 2017 Super Bowl.

As they support each other in all their ventures, Diana is continuously gracious for the care she has received at Shriners Hospitals. “I’ve seen my son go from having casts on his feet, to using orthotic braces, orthopaedic shoes, and now running on the soccer field with his own two feet. It is amazing, as a mother he inspires me. Just hearing the word Shriners, makes my heart beat faster. I am appreciative with all my heart of the great care that I’ve received in Houston and Mexico City. I am vowing to come back one day and return to them all the great things that they have done for us”.

As Diana and Donato conquer every obstacle in their way and strive forward – we asked them to promise us that they would not forget us if they become a famous singer and/or soccer player. They both smiled and agreed to these terms!

Diana and Donato through the years of care

Pictured (top right): Donato and his mom after winning a soccer tournament; (above, top row - left) Donato at age 8 in Mexico; (above, top row - middle) Donato using crutches for the first time at age 9; (above, top row - right) Donato playing soccer with no challenges at all; (above, bottom row - left) Diana performing at a 2017 Houston Super Bowl event; (above, bottom row - right) Donato and Diana at the Houston Shriners Hospital recently

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