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Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Friday, April 26, 2019 Friday, April 26, 2019 9:54 AM - Friday, April 26, 2019 9:54 AM

Felipe's story

Felipe was born with a congenital condition affecting his arms, and a malformation in his left leg, resulting in a leg amputation and need for prosthetic devices. Because of the limited level of prosthetic technology available to him in his home country of Chile, Felipe and his family knew they needed to seek treatment elsewhere, and they were looking for answers.

In 1998, a friend living in Massachusetts contacted the family and suggested Shriners Hospitals for Children as a care option. They took a leap of faith, and at the age of 5 Felipe and his family traveled over 5,000 miles to the Springfield Shriners Hospital. He needed new prosthetic arms and a prosthetic leg, which would allow him to thrive in his daily life and participate in the sports he loves so much – soccer and tennis.

When he first arrived, Felipe’s prosthetic leg did not have an articulating knee. The leg was not made with a joint that would allow him to bend his leg, limiting him when walking, running and playing with friends.

For the next 16 years, Felipe spent every summer at the Springfield Shriners Hospital. He received new prosthetic devices as he grew and had several physical and occupational therapy sessions. The services provided to Felipe at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield led him to his independence and ability to walk on his own two feet. Felipe recalls that one of his favorite activities he learned to do on his own was cook pizza.

Now 26, Felipe is an adaptive professional tennis player who is ranked third in Chile and eighth in the world, a Paralympic soccer player and a motivational speaker. He takes pride in telling his life story to others so they too can believe in achieving anything they put their minds to.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the beautiful and wonderful people at Shriners Hospital in Springfield for welcoming me with open arms and love at every appointment. You changed my life and gave me the opportunity to represent my country in Paralympic sports. I have you in my heart forever.”

Felipe as a child