In 2005, Mirna Maria Guadalupe Ramos, who currently resides in Hue- huetenango, Guatemala suffered a devastating stroke during what would have been a routine medical procedure. As a result. her cerebral cortex was damaged making her completely paraplegic and lacking any motor skills. Since that time, she has been completely paralyzed and is only able to move her eyes.
A group of friends have been looking for any means and ways in which they might be able to improve her life condition, even if it is just marginally. As a result, they discovered the "Opportunity Foundation of America" (OFOA), a non-profit organization that manufactures and distributes an assistive technology called EagleEyes (www.eagleeyes.org). The technology was developed at Boston College and allows individuals with severe physical disabilities to move the mouse cursor with the simple movement of their eyes or other facial expressions. During the month of June, a collection was conducted by ADTRAN, my employer, in Huntsville, Alabama. The response was overwhelming, with $1,200.00 donated to OFOA for the cost of the EagleEyes system. A laptop and a flat screen monitor were also donated.
In July, we traveled to Guatemala. EagleEyes was set up and we began training Mirna's family on how to use the system. The family is hoping that the technology will represent a big improvement in the quality of Mirna's life since it would allow her to express her needs and perhaps most importantly, her emotions. It would likewise help to relieve her family of a great burden on trying to interpret what she is trying to say. The doctors tell us that she is fully conscious and can hear, smell and see. However, she has been inside a physical prison ever since that fateful day back in 2005 and is not able to communicate in any way with her family. Now, with the support of EagleEyes Mirna will have the opportunity to play simple games and learn how to communicate with her family and friends. We all know this is just the beginning of a journey together and that with love, patience and effort, we will see even greater results from our friend Mirna Ramos. She is a fighter and we all pray that with very hard work, one day she will be able to post a little note on this blog to express her emotions and feelings towards all of you that have blessed us all with your generosity and make this endeavor a reality. We will be updating Mirna's blog http:// mirna-ramos.blogspot.com as often as possible to keep you posted on her progress. May God bless you all!