After living most of her life without legs, a 3-year-old Cuban girl took a big first step toward a normal life Monday.
Doctors amputated both of Alexa Prieto’s legs when she was just 3-months-old.
Her mother had taken her to the hospital in Havana for intestinal issues, but the infant contracted gangrene and Alexa had to lose her legs to save her life. Because she was so young at the time, Alexa has never walked in her life.
After undergoing surgery last fall to prepare for the prosthetics, Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa fitted the toddler with a pair of temporary legs, allowing her to stand for the first time. It was a moment her mother Jacqueline Vidal, called “very emotional.”
“Everybody’s waiting for this moment,” Vidal said through the help of a translator. “They’ve been waiting for a long time to see her walk.”
Armando Quirantes, a Cuban-born prosthesis specialist, saw Alexa’s story on television and decided to sponsor the little girl, bringing her to Florida for treatment.
“She brought her little girl to the hospital for a simple intestinal problem, and she returned with a little girl with no legs,” Quirantes said, referring to Vidal.
Dr. Bryan Sinnott, a senior prosthetist at Shriners, explained that Alexa’s temporary prosthetics are clear, allowing them to see and adjust should the toddler encounter any issues while learning how to use them.
“Because she’s a child she’s going to learn very well, very fast,” he said. “I think she’s going to do really good.”
While he called it amazing to see Alexa stand for the first time, Sinnott says watching Vidal in that moment was truly the vision.
“You watch how a mom takes in the fact her child is standing, it’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “I’m just lucky to be a part of all this.”