My Story by Viviani “Vivi” Cornel

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Story written by Viviani “Vivi” Cornel

My Story by Viviani “Vivi” Cornel

I’m from Orange Walk, Belize.

 When I was two and a half years old, my parents noticed that I     had a pronounced limp as soon as I started walking. Doctors   diagnosed that I had been born with hip dysplasia, which required surgery. Thanks to Uncle Gene and the Belize Children’s Project, I was flown to Shriners Hospital in St. Louis, for surgery. I don’t remember much about my first trip to Shriners. I was too young. I do remember Gene took me there. I’m twenty-four now, and he’s been my friend all these years. He will always be my inspiration.

 

While in the United States, I stayed with my host family, the Lashley family, for nine months on the first trip. The Lashley’s took such good care of me each time, and we became a close family together. I’ve visited them several times on my summer vacations.

About five years ago, I was sitting on the floor playing with their family pet Ashley and their granddaughter Emmi. When I went to get up my knee dislocated. It turns out that it came out of its socket. It was very painful and required surgery. I’m glad I was in the States at the time.

Uncle Gene changed the lives of so many kids from Belize. My entire family loved him. We all refer to him as Uncle Gene. He’s part of our family. Our life would not be the same if we hadn’t met him.

Today, my hip and knee are doing very well. I’m not restricted at all, and I am living my life to the fullest.

 

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