PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 12-year-old boy from Puerto Rico is headed back home after the storm with a new leash on life. Born with one leg, he now has a prosthetic and a Thanksgiving gift from a South Jersey school.
Luis Angel Chiclana walked into the Gloucester High School Gym to cheers. Two weeks ago, he was in a wheel chair at Shriners Hospital twirling a basketball on his finger; but today, he’s making lay-ups in a game of basketball.
“It was fun,” says Luis, who speaks very little English.
Through an interpreter, he showed off his brand new prosthetic leg, which is embossed with the image of his all time favorite basketball player, Michael Jordan.
Reporter: “How long have you loved Michael?”
Luis: “Since [I was] born.”
Father Angel Chiclana and mother Joana brought Luis to Philadelphia back in September so that he could get surgery on his leg. The family has spent about 300 days at Ronald McDonald House in Camden since 2006 so that Luis can get the treatment he needs. This last trip kept them here during Hurricane Maria. But word from Puerto Rico is that the Chiclana’s home has a damaged roof and more.
“They are angels sent by God,” says Angel, through an interpreter in response to a $1,200 check from students at Gloucester High School. “This is so unexpected.”
Reporter: “This is like a little Thanksgiving gift?”
Response: “It is, it absolutely is.”
Teacher Barbara Sacchatti launched a hurricane relief effort at the start of the school year at the high school. Their original goal was $500. But when they heard about Luis, the school’s “Leo Club” decided to donate their funds to the Chiclana family, more than doubling the initial goal.
“He didn’t let his disability stop him,” says Sacchaetti, “So we wanted to help them– they’ve lost their christmas decorations with their roof being blown off – so whatever they need the money for- that’s what we want them to use it for.”
Students from the school cheered Luis on, as he threw in a few baskets. In addition to the donation, the school presented Luis with custom-made Gloucester High swag.
As for the money, Chiclanas say it will help with supplies and roof damage.