It is amazing to watch your son take his first steps anytime. For five-year-old Paul Telaar's family, it is even better the second time around.
"Emotional. Very emotional," Bishop Ezekiel Malagdit, Paul's father said.
The boy could not even move until a few days ago.
"I saw him just doing that, standing and alone and was and was able to move," Malagdit said, while swaying side-to-side, mimicking his son's movement. "I said, oh my goodness, praise to God."
Paul is recovering from two very risky brain surgeries he had in September. He had a brain tumor on his brain stem. It prevented him from swallowing, moving his right side, and even talking. According to Malagdit, every doctor in Africa and several neurosurgeons in the United States did not want to operate on Paul. Sanford Neurosurgeon Dr. Wilson Asfora took on the challenge.
A local group called Mary's Project-Mission Hope South Sudan brought the family to Sioux Falls. Astora removed most of Paul's tumor. Paul will not need chemotherapy, but he is already had a lot of physical and speech therapy at Children's Care Hospital.
"This was a miracle. When Paul came off the plane, little Paul was out of life. He was out of time. And to see this miracle and to see what's happened, it's unbelievable," Lisa Marie Johnson, Mary's Project-Mission Hope South Sudan, said.
Despite all of the obstacles, Paul's family believes nothing happens by accident.
"We can say this was a God planning," Malagdit said.
The family will stay in Sioux Falls for a few more weeks. Paul will continue his therapy when they return to Sudan. Bills are adding up, and Mary's Project-Mission Hope South Sudan is holding a fundraiser on Saturday, November 2. It is at Knights of Columbus Hall on 315 N. Summit Avenue in Sioux Falls. It starts at 4 p.m. For more information, call 605-951-8291.
After such a grueling process for the little boy, watching Paul take his first steps may leave you speechless. Thankfully, in his quiet five-year-old voice, Paul knows just what to say about his second chance.
"Thank you for saving my life," Paul said.