The smiles come easily for 11-year-old Adolf Baguma. But Wednesday, he has reason to smile even bigger than before.
"The day after Christmas has been able to give us our gift, which is the pleasure of seeing him walk upright for the first time in several years," said Dr. Peter Grossman, Grossman Burn Center.
At 5 years old, Adolf was living in Uganda and was burned by his aunt as a punishment. With no medical attention, the burned skin on his legs fused together, leaving him unable to walk upright.
"Adolf is a survivor," said Grossman.
Thanks to the Grossman Burn Center, Adolf and his guardian were brought to the U.S. in November.
"When we saw the pictures and we contacted Dr. Peter Grossman to look at the pictures, we knew that there was a full life for Adolf once he had the surgery," said Carol Horvitz, executive director of the Children's Burn Foundation.
This month, doctors went to work, performing two surgeries totaling three hours.
"The problem that we faced in surgery was not just the skin, but the shrinkage or the contraction of the muscle and the tendon," said Grossman.
Not even a month after the surgery, Adolf's dreams of playing like a normal child will soon be reality.
"The miracle is done. Adolf started walking, so it is for sure very, very good in our hearts," said Adolf's guardian, Eva Mbazi.
The splints will stay on another week or two and then the plan is to get him into physical therapy to get him strong enough to be able to play soccer and to ride the bike Santa brought him for Christmas.