Luis Canelos suffered a horrible injury at the age of nine, when he picked up his father’s rifle and accidentally shot himself in the groin.
The tragedy destroyed his genitals save for a small part of his right testicle and he had no prospects for a change in his situation because his family lived in Peru in poverty, but thanks to a Miami doctor who heard about his case and the International Kids Fund (IKF) Wonderfund, the now 16-year-old Canelos may be able to have children in the future.
The IKF Wonderfund is calling on the South Florida community to help raise the $50,000 needed for a phalloplasty, surgery to reconstruct external genitalia.
“This delicate surgery will require a two-team approach that will consist of forearm grafting and placing of a cadaveric fibula bone for the reconstruction,” says Dr. Christopher J. Salgado, associate professor of surgery and section chief of plastic surgery at University of Miami Hospital, who will be doing the operation pro-bono along with doctors Morad Askari and Rafael Gosalbez.
For Canelos, who lives in Santa Clotilde, a small town in northern Peru, the surgery will be a chance at an increasingly normal life that will allow him to urinate normally, help heal his devastating psychological wounds and one day have a family.
The Wonderfund organization felt compelled to help Luis “not only because of the physical situation but also because of the emotional side effects that come with the situation,” said Executive Director María Luisa Chea.
“This tragedy has changed my son and our family’s life forever,” says the teen’s father, Roger Canelos.
“Now he has the opportunity to be whole again and I ask everyone who hears about my son’s story to help transform his future.”