Staff Report

In October, Christian Mendez, 21, from Orlando, got a new way of life at the Freedom to Walk Foundation’s Fourth Annual One Step At A Time Gala at the Centre Club in Tampa. Thanks to the WalkAide® sponsors American Dream Home Mortgage and Hanger Clinic-Kissimmee, Businesses and the Community, Mendez will no longer struggle to walk, now that he will have his own WalkAide®, a revolutionary electronic device that when worn on the calf, sends electric impulses to the affected foot, causing the foot and leg to lift and follow through as they would with a natural, unimpaired gait.

Inspirational speeches about overcoming adversities from Keynote Speakers Ron Klein, inventor of the Magnetic Strip on the Credit Card, developer of computerized systems for Real Estate (MLS) Multiple Listing Services and other inventions that have changed the world and David Kauffman Ziglar Legacy Certified Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Gala’s MC Jenn Holloway, anchors News Channel 8 at 8 on Great 38. Klein said “There is a gift behind every challenge. If you are not giving, you are not living.”

Daisy Vega, Founder of the Freedom to Walk Foundation, invited the family to the Gala under false pretenses and told them that this would be an opportunity for them to meet people and fundraise for their son’s WalkAide®.

Mendez was diagnosed with Brain Cancer. Multiple doctors in Puerto Rico said there was not much hope for his survival due to the placement of the tumor. Many doctors in the US also told them there was little hope and were unwilling to perform the surgical procedure. They found hope in Tennessee with St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

Mendez has limited use of his left arm and leg. His foot drop is a condition characterized by weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot necessary for people to walk causing a person to either drag the foot and toes or engage in a high-stepping walk called steppage gait.

“We look forward to enriching the lives of more children and adults with foot drop.”

Visit or contact Daisy Vega at 546-2329 or

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