Former Miss Colombia Daniella Álvarez is showing that there is nothing that can keep her down. The former beauty pageant star had to have part of her left leg amputated after complications from a routine surgery.
Daniella Álvarez, a former Miss Colombia, is showing the world her resilience.
After a routine surgical procedure, and several follow up surgeries, part of the beauty pageant star’s left leg was amputated. Despite a major surgery, Álvarez is determined to live out the rest of her dreams and regardless of the amputation.
She recently shared a video on Instagram of her dancing for the first time since the surgery 3 weeks ago.
“Putting swing to life with my favorite partner @rickialvarezv. No matter the difficulties,” Álvarez writes in her post. “We must be resilient in life!”
Álvarez’s story is a cautionary tale of the kinds of complications that can arise from routine surgical procedures.
Álvarez explains that she went in to have a lump removed from her abdomen. Unfortunately, that surgery led to complications that required follow up surgeries to rectify the issues. Those follow up surgeries led to ischemia, which is when blood doesn’t flow where it needs to. The ischemia attacked both of her legs yet the left one was the most impacted.
Doctors tried everything they could to save Álvarez’s left leg.
After multiple surgeries, it became clear to doctors that they would not be able to save Álvarez’s leg. The only option left was to amputate and Álvarez accepted that fate with grace and class. The young woman seemed at peace with the decision and trusted that her doctors had done their jobs to the best of their ability.
Best wishes on an increasingly speedy recovery!
Álvarez’s right leg is not completely healed from the complications but it is getting better.
“The ischemia has also affected the functionality of my other foot as well, I am unable to walk,” Álvarez told La FM, according to Hola. “My right foot feels completely asleep and hasn’t woken up and we don’t know how long it will take for the foot to start functioning again.”
Separated from her mother for a decade, seventeen-year-old Cindy (who is only being identified by her first name) took a chance last month to see her. Despite her age, a raging pandemic, and the risks of crossing the Mexico–United States border she journeyed from Honduras to see her mother in New York. Her love for her mother was so deep, she was willing to risk everything.
In her mission, Cindy wound up in U.S. immigration facilities where she contracted Covid-19. After three days in a hospital bed in California, Cindy was finally able to contact her mother who had not learned of her daughter’s hospitalization.
Thanks to the help of a doctor who lent her their phone Cindy was able to make the call to her mother, Maria Ana.
“There are backlogs and delays in communication that are really unacceptable,” Maria Ana’s immigration lawyer Kate Goldfinch, who is also the president of the nonprofit Vecina, explained to NBC.
After learning about her daughter’s COVID-19 hospitalization, Maria Ana feared the worst. “Following weeks of anguish and uncertainty, Maria Ana spent most of her nights painting the bedroom she has fixed for Cindy, just ‘waiting for my girl,'” she explained to NBC.
Last Wednesday night, Maria Ana flew to San Diego to be with her daughter after she’d finally recovered from Covid.
At the emotional mother-daughter reunion, Maria Ana assured her daughter “no one else is going to hurt you.”
After Cindy crossed the border, she spent several days in a detention facility in Texas in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. According to NBC “On any given night, Cindy said, she would share two mattresses with about eight other girls. She could shower only every five days in one of the eight showers the facility had to serve 700 girls.”
“It was really bad,” Cindy told the outlet..
Cindy was among almost 13,350 unaccompanied children left in the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS. This last year has seen over 3,715 unaccompanied children at these facilities diagnosed with Covid-19. Worse, there are currently 528 unaccompanied children who have tested positive for Covid-19 and put in medical isolation.
Now, immigration advocates and families are pressing the U.S. government to pick up reunions of children and their families in the United States. Over 80 percent of unaccompanied minors currently in federal custody have family living in the states. According to Goldfinch, “40 percent have parents in the U.S.”
“So we would think that it would be fairly quick and simple to release a child to their own parent. But because of the chaos of the system, the reunification of these kids with their parents is really frustrating and backlogged,” Goldfinch explained, “most frustrating, of course, for the actual children and their parents.”
While Cindy was in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, no one managed to notify Ana Maria that her daughter was in the hospital according to Goldfinch
“I don’t know why my daughter has to be suffering this way, because it’s not fair. It’s something very sad for me,” Maria Ana explained to NBC
“I’ve already been through a lot,” Cindy went onto share. “But I hope it’s all worth it.”
The gender disparity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) jobs remains wide in Colombia. As of 2019, Colombian women hold 32.9 percent of all STEM jobs in the country.
Nicole Chapaval, the VP of education at Platzi, wants to get more women into STEM. As someone who found herself in tech, Chapaval understands what it takes for women to break into the industry.
Chapaval’s own passion for computer science started in her youth. Despite wanting her parents’ reservations about her career choice, she went to school to study software engineering.
“I learned how to code with Platzi. I was a student back in 2012 before I worked here,” she told mitú.
Platzi is a professional learning app targeting people ages 22 and older.
Instructors for the app are teaching livestream courses on programming, marketing, design, and business. The classes are available in English and Spanish.
Chapaval took an interest in content optimization practicing her coding on a personal blog while taking online courses. Starting out as a student advocate, the two founders of Platzi noticed her dedication and started to involve her more in the team.
As Platzi expanded, so did Chapaval’s job description.
Chapaval has been successful in her career. Yet, despite the success, she has seen the gender disparity firsthand. It has only further inspired Chavapal to work to get more women in their tech careers.
“One of my first jobs was in a company that was doing mobile applications and in this company there were 15 male developers and myself,” she says.
Wanting to engage with her male colleagues, Chapaval admitted to feeling weird when her enthusiasm was not reciprocated.
“I was always very extroverted and wanted to meet everyone [but] they didn’t want to talk with me,” she says.
Chapaval teaches 60 percent of computer sciences courses hoping to attract more women to the field.
“I think that representation is very important. So I try to be very vocal and very present with everything that we do in social media and in content creation,” she says.
Whether it be attending company livestreams or podcasts, it is imperative for Chapaval to have women witness others in the field to show the possibilities they can achieve.
Prideful, she also amplifies the achievements of other Latinas in STEM, like that of Diana Trujillo. Yet, she still expresses a need for more women to get managerial roles.
“I am very proud of Trujillo,” she says. “She’s from my hometown and she was in the NASA project that launched the Perseverance Rover. These kinds of things are great!”
Thirty-six percent of Platzi‘s more than 1 millionstudents are women and it is growing.
“That’s very low,” she says, “but we doubled that percentage from 2018 so we still have a long way to go.”
A key step needed to attract more students is accessibility, both financially and in content. Platzi, Chapaval mentions, offers free programming courses that aim to be accessible to those with low internet connection in all parts of Colombia and Latin America.
“It’s not just about what you are learning as an individual, but also as a team or a group,” she says. “That also adds to the working ecosystem of Latin America.”
Regardless of gender, age, or background, Chapaval believes “education is very important if we want to break these blockers.”
In fact, two crucial skills she believes everyone should know is programming and English. “I like to say that both skills have to do with communications; communication with machines and with other people in the world,” she says.
In a time when remote jobs are pertinent due to the pandemic, having communication skills is a valuable asset for STEM careers in any country.
“Programming should be a basic skill that schools teach as well because it’s not only [beneficial] to be a developer,” Chapaval says. “It helps you understand how to solve problems in a logical way.”
Chapaval is grateful for her personal growth in STEM and hopes that Platzi can help others grow.
“I hope [students] can create what they dream of with the coding skills that they can get with us and can show it to the world,” she says.
“Latin America is a lovely region and a lot is happening here,” she says. “I hope that if this community can get to know each other and create the next big companies and big solutions for problems that we have right now, I would [be] fulfilled.”
As the gender disparity in STEM slowly expands, Chapaval continues to vouch for women to speak up and push through in the field.
Proudly Chapaval says, “Latinas are very extroverted, and the tech and software engineering world needs more extroverted people [like us] to add to their ecosystem.”
The App Store featured Platzi for Women’s History Month.