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'First steps': Child refugee gifted with new chance in life

Posted at 8:11 AM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 09:11:14-05

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — Just last month, we told you about a group of Texans raising money to help a little boy get back on his feet.

Elizarde said Emmanuel never wanted to wear pants, because of his missing leg, but that all changed when he got the prosthetic that changed his life forever.

Today we have a great update to share with you.

Emmanuel, an 8-year-old refugee from Venezuela, was born with a rare birth defect, forcing doctors to amputate his right leg.

After four long hard years of relying on a crutch to get around, what would come next would change his life forever.

An incredible moment, years in the making, Emmanuel's doctor connecting his brand-new prosthetic leg, the first one he's ever had.

Moments later, he's up on his own and soon after: his first steps.

It's all thanks to people like Nancy Elizarde, part of that GoFundMe campaign to get him a prosthetic.

"I was walking along with him when he started taking his first steps," Elizarde told 25 News.

Not a dry eye in the room.

"He pushed himself to reach his goal and his family goal without a leg," Elizarde said. "That is what made him so special."

The little boy and his family traveled more than 2,000 miles, mostly walking from Venezuela to the Texas-Mexico border in Nuevo Laredo.

It is there where they await the asylum process, hoping to come to America.

Emmanuel is proving to be quick learner, even walking backwards with his prosthetic leg, or as he calls it, "Mi prosthesi."

And that one thing he's been dreaming about, he did that too.

"He did!," Elizarde said. "He already played soccer!"

The GoFundMe campaign ended up raising $2,000 in just one day.

That was more than enough to buy his prosthetic leg.

They used the extra money to buy him clothes.