When the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston celebrated Lemonade Day at UTMB in May, Diego Coronel, 6, of Bolivia, showed off his entrepreneurial skills. Even though he did not speak English, he wore a smile that melted the hearts of those he came into contact with in the Main Street Hallway of John Sealy Hospital.
That toothless grin resulted in folks buying gallons of lemonade with the proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House, Diego’s home away from home. UTMB employees from the Department of Radiology were so impressed with Diego’s enthusiasm; they took up a collection and donated $100 to the House.
That day Diego’s smile was so bright most people probably didn’t notice his malady – he had no legs. He had lost them in a tragic accident. But, what they also didn’t know was that within days, he would be walking, running and playing – all on his own. Diego, who at the time was a patient at Shriner Burns Hospital, was fitted with prosthetic legs the week after Lemonade Day.
He grew accustomed to his new legs quickly and was running and playing like they had always been a part of him. “It is so gratifying to see him walk out of the House when he had to be carried in. It just reinforces that the Ronald McDonald House serves a unique purpose of providing support and cheerful surroundings to children who are patients and their families,” said Margie Chavarria, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston.