• Cassidy Albers

Part One: The Worthwhile Journey

Note: Names and locations have been changed for the safety of the individual.

For the next two weeks, you'll get to hear about the life of Jenna from Montana de Luz. Her journey with the organization started when she was just 8-months-old! With this being said, I believe her story is better told by those who truly know and love her.

This is the story of Jenna's worthwhile journey:

"Jenna came to live at Montaña de Luz when she was just 8 months old. Little is known about her earliest days, but when she arrived to live at MdL, she actually had no given name. Staff members at the time chose Jenna. It was clear in these early days that Jenna suffered from a physical condition, in addition to her HIV positive status. Physical therapists worked with Jenna to determine a cerebral palsy diagnosis which would lead to a lifetime of difficulties with walking.

Over the years, Jenna would be confined to a wheelchair. As she grew bigger, service team members would transport wheelchair after wheelchair from the United States to Honduras, help build wheelchair-friendly walkways and paths through the grounds of MdL, and adjust activities to make sure she was included. Staff members and her caretakers would help her to the bathroom, help her shower, and help her dress, in addition to making sure she was always comfortable and safe.

Jenna has had several surgeries in her short life in order to help her walk. Our staff and volunteers had tirelessly worked with her to encourage her to use her walker, to practice her physical therapy, and to do the necessary exercises to heal. We have signed her up for countless swim lessons, taken her to dolphin therapy, worked long hours, and promised extra showings of Frozen if she would just use her walker. There was a missing piece, however, that we weren’t addressing.

For Jenna’s entire life, we believed she had no living family members. She didn’t receive phone calls or visits like the other kids. For Christmas and Holy Week, she would go home with staff, rather than blood relatives. As she grew older and more aware of her situation, Jenna struggled emotionally. Her journey to be able to walk was no longer a priority. Jenna couldn’t be physically healthy until she was mentally and emotionally healthy." Here at Orphan World Relief, we're so excited to hear stories like Jenna's and are excited to share the next part of her journey next week!

To support and learn about programs like this, visit www.orphanworldrelief.org

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