Riccardo is a 5-year-old boy who is a patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada. He was diagnosed with bilateral clubfoot at 20 weeks gestation and has been with us ever since. When Melissa received the news that her son would be born with feet that could not lay flat on the ground, her first reaction was shock. She had never heard of clubfoot before and was unaware of the implications it would have on her son’s life. In the 27th week of her pregnancy, Melissa boarded a flight from Alberta to Montreal for their first appointment at Canada Shriners Hospital.

It was not long before Melissa realized that she was in good hands. At her first appointment, Dr. Benaroch (orthopedic surgeon) told her something that would stick with her throughout her entire experience. He said to her, “this will be the least of your worries.” Looking back on this moment, five and a half years later, she admits he was right. She did not have to worry. Clubfoot is the most commonly-treatable orthopedic condition among newborns, and she was in the right hands at the right time. “The treatment plan was not always easy,” she explains. “It consisted of serial casting, night boots and bars, as well as the numerous surgeries. Having the right attitude and positivity is everything.” Melissa firmly believes that if you demonstrate to your child what it is to be strong and remind them that everything will be okay, they will feel it and believe it themselves.

Today, Riccardo is proud to talk about his clubfoot journey and experiences. He is a thriving young boy who loves to play sports, run, and play with his friends. Melissa is incredibly grateful for the care, support, and love that she and her son received. It has allowed Riccardo to be able to do what any other 5-year-old boy can do—and more.

At Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada, we pride ourselves on being there for our patients and families every step of the way. No matter what age they embark on their journey with us, our goal is to make sure they can reach their full potential as soon as possible.

Every journey begins with a first step. To learn more about our exceptional patients like Riccardo and how you can be a part of their journeys, visit ShrinersEveryStep.com

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