Nicaraguan Woman Saved By Oklahoma Generosity

Sunday, September 8th 2013, 10:46 pm
By: News On 6

Elba Delgado was on the verge of having her leg amputated earlier this year after an injury most Americans would fully recover from in just a few months.

Strangers in Tulsa saved Elba Delgado's life, not just once, but twice.

"She has more courage than anybody I've ever met," Leslie Penrose said.

Penrose runs a Tulsa nonprofit called "JustHope," which works with poor Nicaraguan communities like Elba's, by building homes, providing clean water and helping women start small businesses.

"The lives of so many women in the community are changed," Delgado said.

Delgado flourished in the program, eventually helping hundreds of other women sell clothes, grow food and raise animals.

"She walks with them every step of their way," Penrose said.

But while riding her motorcycle to work one night that all changed.

"When I woke up, we were just in a pile, and I thought I was covered in water, but it was my own blood," Delgado said.

She had been hit by a drunk driver and her leg was nearly severed.

"I just wanted to live because I have my two kids at home, and then people started talking about the possibility that they were going to have to cut off my leg," Delgado said.

She refused to lose her limb.

Nicaraguan doctors performed surgery, but the bone was never set properly.

After two infections, she needed a second surgery and a third.

"It's still not aligned so it's really difficult to walk," Delgado said.

Penrose showed an X-ray to a doctor at St. John in Tulsa, and after hearing Delgado's story, the hospital opted to do the $35,000 surgery for free.

JustHope is covering travel costs and the metal plate that will be inserted into her leg.

"A beautiful witness that national borders don't matter as much as human relationships," Penrose said.

Delgado is determined to walk again, not just for herself, but for all the women she helps take a new step in their lives.

"Because of them, I'm going to be able to return to my life," Delgado said. "I'm going to walk again."

Delgado is expected to have surgery sometime this week.

Barring any setbacks, she could be back up and walking and helping out her community again in less than two months.