LOS ANGELES – At age 16, Colombian Yadira Perdomo was left paralyzed in Bogota after being bullied by other students, and now turned 25 she teaches in California that “bullying is not a game,” while recovering from a seemingly miraculous surgery.
“If school bullying is not checked early on, with good behavior learned at home, then this is what happens,” Perdomo told EFE, pointing at her wheelchair.
The young woman noted in the interview that “schools are made for learning, for making friends, to help us, not to kill us.”
She said that remembering what happened on Aug. 25, 2009, at her high school in Bogota.
Her schoolmates, who were always harassing her, on that day nagged her into lowering a bag full of pencils from a balcony and when it was on its way down, a student slammed a window shut where she was standing on one foot and she fell.
Her spinal column broke “in two” and her head “bounced” on the ground. The doctors who attended her diagnosed a “spinal cord trauma and concussion.”
Then, in 2010, Dr. Shlomo Raz, urology professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), went to Bogota to share his knowledge with surgeons at El Bosque Clinic.
The Colombian doctors told him about Yadira, and he prepared to operate on her.
“Yadira had paralysis of the legs, the bladder, the intestines, she was unable to urinate, all because of that accident,” Raz told EFE.
But then, “something miraculous occurred, because after the operation she began to move her legs and walk,” the specialist said.
The doctor said this was the only case in a thousand surgeries of this kind that had produced that unexpected result.
In her fight against bullying, the young woman founded the NGO called “United we will be heard,” whose mission is to teach that “bullying is not a game,” because the victims can lose their lives or be left forever disabled.
“In my wheelchair, I’ve visited some 800 educational centers in Colombia, and after moving to the US, nine schools in Los Angeles County, and in Miami I have shared my story on the radio,” Perdomo said.
Angela Altamiranda, the young woman’s mother, told EFE in the midst of tears that as long as families, “particularly from the upper classes,” don’t understand that “it’s a lie they have perfect children” and teach them to behave, this bullying will never end.