Lourdes (top) was featured on LAOH building banners.
You may not recognize Lourdes Mack’s name, but if you have spent any time at Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital (LAOH), you will have certainly seen her face. Her sweet smile and determined look as she moved with her walker were featured on the building banner that presided over the south wall of the Lowman Building on the downtown campus for several years.
Born with spina bifida, a condition that occurs in utero during the development of the spinal vertebrae, Lourdes experiences a variety of mobility challenges. Her condition can be life-threatening without proper treatment and requires lifelong medical care.
Helping Lourdes keep her determined momentum as she grows is the spina bifida team at LAOH, headed by Lourdes’s physician, Richard E. Bowen, M.D., FAAOS. As the assistant chief of pediatric orthopaedic surgery at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, and director of sports medicine services at LAOH, Bowen specializes in getting children moving, however complex their conditions. Lourdes and her mother, Nicte, are pleased Bowen is their doctor. “He’s very friendly and honest, and takes time to explain things about my condition,” says Lourdes.
Now 10, Lourdes has done a great deal of growing up since she first came to LAOH. Her determination and the treatment she receives have enabled her to live an active life. She swims regularly to support her general fitness, plays in a wheelchair basketball league, performs in musical theater productions, and appeared onstage in the Joffrey Ballet’s 2011 production of “The Nutcracker.” She is a representative for Shane’s Inspiration, the organization that partnered with LAOH in designing the Everychild Foundation Universally Accessible Playground located on the LAOH downtown campus.
Lourdes and her mom appreciate Dr. Bowen's honest and detailed explanations of her condition.
Lourdes is proud to have represented every child’s ability to succeed on the LAOH banner, and continues to model and act. Most recently, she was cast in an episode of the TV series, “Private Practice.” Her mother, Nicte, credits Lourdes’s ease in the public eye to the experience of knowing that thousands of people saw and were encouraged by the LAOH banner. “It showed her that she is capable of doing anything as long as she tries.” “Children with conditions that limit their physical ability face unique challenges, but these don’t need to diminish their quality of life,” affirms Bowen. ”A limitation may be congenital and life-long, as with Lourdes, or may be acquired and acute – for example, as the result of a sports injury that can heal fully with timely, proper treatment. Regardless of the cause, at LAOH, we do everything we can to help kids move and participate in the activities they love.”
Lourdes is personally inspired by the joy and capability she feels when participating in sports and performing. She and her mother “value the opportunities that Lourdes receives because of her condition,” including “all LAOH has done to help” her follow her own bold and adventurous heart.