Wheelchair bound from the severe brittle bone disease he was born with, Edwin Zabala, 10, shares a single room with his mother and younger brother in a shelter for domestic violence survivors. Edwin is about three feet tall with a round head nearly the size of his torso; his arms and legs are bent inward from frequent breakage.
His younger brother, Jorge, 6, acts as his protector during the rare times, other than school, that their mother feels it is safe to walk with them on the streets outside their shelter. It is not that she is an overly-cautious mother. It is that she knows, after witnessing Edwin’s bones crack again and again when they experience the slightest pressure, after seeing criminals hanging out on the tough streets outside and after enduring 11 years of abuse from their father, that the world outside their room for them is a dangerous place.
Thankfully, Dominican Sisters Family Health Services, a Catholic Charities affiliate, has made it safer.
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