Sixteen-year-olds Markos and Tamrat Bogale stepped off a plane into America for the first time this weekend; hoping their stay in North Texas will prove life-changing.
The twin brothers from Ethiopia have long shared a common problem: severe cases of scoliosis.
Markos’ spine curves about 60 percent while brother Tamrat lives with a 120 percent curve that leaves him unable to stand up straight.
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In Ethiopia, the funds and resources to fix that kind of disorder are scarce, but they’re finding renewed hope in the Lone Star State.
During a pilgrimage to the African country this year, Dr. Theodore Belanger from the Texas Back Institute met the boys and examined their situation.
Through a partnership with Medical Center Plano, Dr. Belanger and his staff at the institute offered to take on the brothers’ cases and to give them the care needed free of charge.
So the Bogales made the trip to town where they will live with Belanger’s Chief Development Officer Cheryl Zapata and her family for several months while they undergo the multiple surgeries and long recoveries required to fix their backs.
“It’s beautiful,” said Tamrat about seeing America for the first time.
The twins took in their first American church experience Sunday at Prairie Creek Baptist in Plano as they work to learn more of the English language and more about the American culture.
Zapata said the boys are shy as they immerse in the new place, but clearly excited and grateful for the journey they are about to take.
They will continue evaluations at the Texas Back Institute this week and then surgeries will be scheduled at Medical Center Plano.