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Picturing a Brighter Future with Shriners Children's

Meet Ariel

After an accident caused the loss of his leg and the use of an arm, Ariel had a tough road of recovery ahead of him, and uncertainty about his ability to continue his work.

Thanks to the wrap-around care he received at Shriners Children’s Texas, he is now able to picture a brighter future when he returns home to Honduras.

When Ariel was 11 years old, he dropped out of school so he could help provide for his family by working in the coffee fields. This past year, at the age of 15, he accidentally made contact with a live electrical wire while at work. The resulting shock caused a severe electrical burn, which ultimately cost him his left leg and limited mobility in his dominant right arm.

During the course of his treatment here at Shriners Children’s Texas, he came to the attention of the hospital’s school teacher, Ms. Flor Mota. She encouraged him to attend school here, even though he was reluctant at first. Ariel did not have a good experience with school in Honduras, so he was not eager to start learning again. However, Ms. Mota was soon able to help him become enthusiastic about school as they began going over basic lessons.

It was during this time that Ms. Mota realized that Ariel would not be able to return to his previous line of work, and she started asking him about his other interests. She thought it would be good for him to start thinking about other vocations. He indicated that he liked to sketch and draw, and that he was interested in photography.

So, Ms. Mota discussed this with the hospital’s school services coordinator, Marja Sealey, and they came up with a plan. They asked the hospital’s medical photographer, Joe Vela, if he would mentor Ariel and teach him photography as a possible career path. He agreed, and when Ariel and his family were able to purchase a camera, he started taking photography lessons with Vela as part of his schooling.

This touches all the bases – he’s thinking about his future, and it’s helping him with his therapy.
Flor Mota, Shriners Children's Texas school teacher

While learning about photography, Ariel was also reaping the benefits of physical therapy. He received a new prosthetic leg from Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services, and was refining his motor skills in his right arm. The lessons in photography added to his therapeutic exercises, allowing him to walk on his prosthetic leg and use his right hand while adjusting the camera.

“It was just like little dominoes falling together,” Ms. Mota said. “It’s helping him with his rehab because he gets to work with the prosthetic, and his right hand is getting more mobility. This touches all the bases – he’s thinking about his future, and it’s helping him with his therapy.”

Ms. Mota’s ultimate goal in all these exercises is to have him thinking seriously about his career objectives. As far as Ariel’s vocational future back home in Honduras goes, he now has a number of possibilities to consider pursuing, including wedding and commercial photography. For further encouragement, Mota and Sealey put together a small exhibit of Ariel’s photographs to display in the hospital lobby, giving staff and the other patients a special view of his work.

For Shriners Children’s Texas, wrap-around care incorporates more than just physical and emotional healing. It can touch many parts of a patient’s life, including education, vocational pursuits, and general life skills. Patients like Ariel can learn how to thrive, even after a traumatic experience.

“The hospital is really great,” Ariel said. “They really specialize in caring for the individual.”

Ariel Learns the Craft of Photography

Wrap-around care at Shriners Children's reaches beyond physical healing.

Ariel photographing two staff members

Ariel takes a photo of Flor Mota and Marja Sealey in the hospital's schoolroom.

Ariel with news team

Ariel and the news team from KPRC-TV in Houston

Ariel photographing Fezzy

Ariel takes a fun photo of Fezzy.

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