One-legged cowboy realizes dream–to stand on two feet

/ 04:38 AM May 15, 2012

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Jerry Saad is a one-legged cowboy no more.

Saad, who lost his left leg during an Abu Sayyaf attack in Lamitan, Basilan, some 30 years ago, is getting a prosthetic leg from the Tzu Chi Foundation with the help of former accountant Roy Climaco.


“I never expected to walk like a normal person again,” said Saad, 37.  “Deep inside, I (had) lost hope of having a second leg again.”

Poverty, Saad said, had made walking on two legs merely a dream.


“I am just a poor farmer, who could hardly sustain my family’s needs. I was told a prosthesis is very expensive,” Saad told the Inquirer as he patiently waited for the donated leg taking shape at the Tzu Chi Foundation’s Jaipur Foot Prosthesis Manufacturing Center at the Zamboanga City Medical Center.

Saad was obviously overwhelmed by the offer.  While the artificial leg was being formed by  prosthesis technicians led by Arnel Araojo and volunteer Waldy Rico, a former driver who lost his feet due to Buerger’s disease (the chronic inflammation of arteries and veins), Saad watched keenly and didn’t mind waiting at the Center for almost two hours, afraid to miss anything.

“I didn’t want to blink or leave the center,” he said.

Saad actually wept when told that an artificial leg “made of PVC” would be given to him, said Dr. Anton Mari Lim of Tzu Chi Foundation.

“I laughed when he asked me several times if I was joking,” Lim said. “He confided that there had been countless promises in the past but none of them materialized, so he could not believe what I told him.”

“People like Jerry deserve real help and support,” said Climaco, who had referred Saad’s story to the Inquirer.

In a previous Inquirer story, Saad said that the horse Bravo lent him by his boss Nonito Bernardo had served as his legs when he went around the vast farm where he has been working since last month.  Without the animal, he would have to walk three to four kilometers to work and back using only a wooden crutch.


“It takes me four hours one way,” he said.

With the artificial leg, walking the same stretch would take less time, even without Bravo, Saad said.

Of course, Lim pointed out, it would take Saad sometime before  he could adjust to his new leg.

But Saad apparently doesn’t mind. “I am very grateful to Sir Climaco (for) the patience he had in me and for his endless encouragement,” he said. He also expressed thanks to the Inquirer for featuring him, the Tzu Chi Foundation, “the others and especially our Almighty for answering my heart’s prayer.” Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Jerry Saad, People with Disabilities, secessionist forces
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