How a Sunday Night story changed this boy's life

 

A little Paraguayan boy spotted running around on twisted ankles in a Sunday Night story has been granted life-changing treatment thanks to the keen eyes of two Aussie mums.

Lana Mayes and her Melbourne friend Lauren Christie, both know how tough it is to raise a child with club foot and they recognized little Toby's condition immediately.

He featured in the story on Paraguay's landfill town of Cateura for just seconds but Lana and Lauren were determined to find him.

Little Toby caught on camera

Word from Cateura was that his family had disappeared, driven out by floods which overwhelmed the town after Sunday Night completed filming.

They reached out to the program and with the help of former Miss Paraguay, Fiorella Migliore, an ambassador for Cateura's Fillharmonic 'junkyard' Orchestra, Tobias' family was located.

The Facebook message that started it all

The locals told Fiorella he and his mother had moved to a roadside hut not far from the town to escape the floods.

It was a stroke of luck that allowed a three year old a shot at a normal life.

America’s Miracle Feet organization, which recently started working in Paraguay to provide treatment for children with club foot, local club foot organization, Solidad have already facilitated treatment for the little boy.

Follow the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra on Twitter

"We really need for people to know that there’s a chance for these kids to have this very, very normal life. And accomplish things and overcome this through treatment," Solidad member Marie France said.

"We went and talked to the mums and local leaders and started seeing there were lots and lots of kids that were untreated. Most over two years, two or three years old. They haven’t been treated."

Tobias' mum Florenzia was overwhelmed that two parents from the other side of the world could change her son's life.

"Thank you Lana, and Australia. I would like to meet you one day," she said in a message to the mums.

Toby after treatment, he will wear this brace for up to four years

Lana's son Zach and Lauren's son Leroy both have undergone the long and painful treatment to straighten their deformed ankles.

Even though it is a condition one in 750 Children are born with, over 1 million of them go untreated due to a lack of treatment in third world countries.

After six weeks in plaster casts, Tobias will need towear special boots joined by a metal bar for up to four years. It is a long process.

"When we brought you the tale of the Junkyard Orchestra in South America last year we never imagined it would absolutely change a little boy’s life," Denham Hitchcock said.

Sydney mum Lana Mayes calls it "Team Toby" - the international collection of individuals and organisations that has come together to support Toby and kids like him with clubfoot.

If you'd like to help:

Toby
www.chuffed.org/project/treat-tobias
Lana Mayes' fundraising site for the treatment of Toby for clubfoot has already raised $2,750 for Toby's treatment and has set a new goal of $18,000 that will go to supporting the work of Miraclefeet with clubfoot in Paraguay and other countries.

Miraclefeet
www.Miraclefeet.com
The international organisation helping Toby and other kids with clubfoot. They're working with the Paraguayan organisation Mil Solidarios.

Aussie Clubfoot Kids
www.clubfootaustralia.com
Unites families dealing with clubfoot across Australia. Sometimes, just having someone to talk with, someone who really understands, makes all the difference.

Trust Your Melody
www.lanamayes.com
Lana Mayes' book telling of her struggles and celebrations as the mother of a child with clubfoot.
Lana is donating a portion of all sales to the campaign to help Toby and other kids with clubfoot.

Book: Leroy's Boots
Lauren Christie's book for kids with clubfoot.
All proceeds are going towards the campaign to support Toby and other kids with clubfoot.
www.leroysboots.com

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