Ian’s Perfect Gift: A Pediatric Wheelchair and Gospel Hope

EL SALVADOR — Four-year-old Ian from El Salvador was born prematurely. Lack of oxygen at birth caused a brain injury, leaving Ian with cerebral palsy. Living under the double weight of poverty and disability, Ian’s parents couldn’t afford a wheelchair for their son. Then, at a Joni and Friends Wheels for the World™ outreach in El Salvador, Ian received The Perfect Gift—a custom-fitted pediatric wheelchair and the Good News of Christ.

Fatima Lourdes Saravia de AlemanIan’s Mother:

They did some studies and the results were that his brain injury was because of the lack of oxygen when he was hospitalized.

My name is Fatima Lourdes Saravia de Aleman. My son’s name is Ian Alberto Saravia de Aleman, he’s 4 years old. I was admitted to the hospital when I was pregnant. My son’s disability was associated to a preterm delivery. A few months after birth, we realized he didn’t turn his head, he didn’t turn his body.

One year later we realized he had cerebral atrophy plus leukomalacial which is a cerebral palsy.

Nicole HillardOccupational Therapist Joni and Friends:

My name is Nicole Hillard and I’m an occupational therapist serving with Wheels For The World here in El Salvador. Ian was sleeping when I saw him with his mother and he had cerebral palsy and we had to fit him for a chair that he was going to grow into but also to support this trunk and his posture.

The wheelchair’s going to improve mum’s life giving her a little bit of independence as well because he is going to be receiving a lot more independence on his own. It’s going to be easier for her to transport him throughout the house, throughout their community. Their quality of living will increase. That is the whole goal.

This wheelchair is a tool, not just for increasing mobility, but increasing socialization being able to connect to society and really belonging.


This is the first wheelchair for my son. We couldn’t afford a wheelchair for him. But thanks to the foundation, we were blessed with a wheelchair for our son to be able to mobilize him to his therapies, to take him to school. He can stay firm in his place and we can move him. We’re thankful as a family for this blessing.

Read more news on Faith Based / Non Profit Organizations, Disability, Christian Ministry and Compassion Services on Missions Box.

About Joni and Friends

For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit www.joniandfriends.org.


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