Anselmo is a perfectly normal little boy.
He was born on January 26, 2001. Which makes him 13 years old now.
And like other 13 year old boys…he loves to ride his bike…
…hike in the woods and hang out with his friends.
Anselmo loves football and swimming
He has tons of personality and even though he once made his home on the streets of Pemba, Mozambique in Southeast Africa…
…now, he lives in an orphanage run by Iris Ministries, attends school, speaks English very well, and greets every day with a smile.
Anselmo is just a normal 13 year old boy.
A normal 13 year old boy born with a tragic deformity.
Anselmo was born with “Club Feet”.
Where most of us have two sets of toes pointing forward, Anselmo was born with his feet rotated internally at the ankles, and has to walk on the sides of his feet rather than the bottom of his feet.
Despite his physical challenges, Anselmo has learned to walk and even run. Amazingly he points the sides of his feet to the ground, and is able to keep up with the other kids in his village.
We (Harold and Angie) first met Anselmo in 2009 when he was 8 years old. From the first moment we saw him, he melted our hearts. His kind smile and eager mind compelled us to do anything we could to help. He showed us what it looks like to choose to make the most of a situation, rather than to let a situation define you. Anslemo is a leader, and sees life through a lens of opportunity rather than difficulty. After some research, we found that the older the children get, the harder it is to operate with a condition like Anselmo’s. However, upon discovering Anselmo was a perfect candidate for corrective surgery in neighboring Malawi, we embarked on a mission to do anything we could to help. Unfortunately, our time in Africa had come to an end…and we needed to head back to Tennessee. We promised each other we would not give up.
Little did we know our desire to help this young man would bring about a better understanding of our faith, our company and ourselves. We returned to Knoxville, and at our company Christmas party that December, we were greeted with the following letter from the staff of Cannon & Cannon.
“Dear Harold and Angie”
This has been a difficult year for you both in many ways. We have watched how you have come through the pain and struggles with grace and peace, showing us the strength you receive from the One who said, “ I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.”
We see your journey through this life as one of giving. To those of us who have so much and to those who have so little. We could give you many different gifts to express our appreciation. Spa days for you, Angie, endless hunting trips for you Harold. But this year needed to be different somehow. No big presents to unwrap, nothing to use up and then forget. Our gift to you needed to show you how much your heart means to us.
In a beautiful country, far away there are children who have climbed into your hearts. They have given to you even though you thought you were the ones doing the giving. We have learned that in Mozambique there is one little boy…Anselmo who is very special to you both and has some specific needs. We understand that Anselmo has club feet and has a small window of opportunity to receive the surgery.
So because of you and through you, we would like to give our gift to Anselmo, please find inside the beginning of funds to cover the cost of the surgery and a promise to help make this surgery a reality.
Your CCI Family
With eyes filled with tears and hearts filled with joy, we alongside the entire Cannon & Cannon team worked with volunteers from the United States and Africa to begin raising money for Anselmo’s surgery.
Below is a quote from Anselmo’s caretaker in Mozambique:
“In Mozambique official things can be painfully complicated but I have seen God move at every stage, and know His timing is perfect. Certainly if everything had gone smoothly the way we wanted, Anselmo would not have met his grandfather today who has not been able to see him for some years. It was beautiful and an honor. Having seen Anselmo grow and change so much in the last 3yrs, I also believe he could not have handled the surgery, emotionally. Now he is ready, and realizes the significance for his future.”
After four long years of waiting, Anselmo began his grueling physical journey.
Due to the painful recovery process, the doctor’s chose to have each of Anselmo’s legs operated on at separate times.
The first surgery took place in December of 2013 and the second in January of 2014.
Even though Anselmo is an incredibly brave and strong little boy, his recovery was extremely painful, and boring (his words). And yet by all accounts, his surgery was a complete success!
After one surgery, it wasn’t long before he was climbing mountains with his friends.
Here is a picture of Anselmo walking on his right foot for the first time, immediately following his second surgery.
And finally showing everyone around him something Anselmo had known his entire life.
That he is just a normal 13 year old boy.