(Miami, October 11, 2007) – Laura Aguilar is a nine-year-old girl from Panama who has lived her whole life with a body that is unable to perform its most basic functions. She was born with a Cloacal Malformation, a confluence of the rectum, vagina, and urethra into a single common channel. This condition does not allow her to urinate or pass bowel movements normally.

Recently, Laura arrived at Holtz Children’s Hospital, in order to receive at least two surgeries that will allow her body to expel waste normally. “If she does not receive this operation, she will never have a normal life or a chance at having kids. She could experience bladder or kidney failure which eventually could lead to death,” said Dr. Rafael Gosálbez, pediatric urologist at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

The International Kids Fund (IKF) needs to raise $35,000 for Laura’s surgery.  “This child has suffered a great deal in her short life. Anyone who meets her recognizes her strong spirit; you want to give her the chance at a normal, happy life. We are asking the community to help make this wish a reality,” said María Luisa Chea, Executive Director of IKF

In the past, several attempts were made to correct Laura’s malformations but they proved futile. Complications have resulted in hearing and vision loss, bladder stones and infections. Due to the complicated nature of the case, doctors in Panama advised her parents to seek treatment in the U.S.

Laura’s family does not have the resources to pay for the costly operations. Her father is a firefighter and her mother was a retail salesperson before having to dedicate herself to caring for Laura fulltime. Because the girl is not a U.S. resident, the public hospital cannot use taxpayers’ money to pay for his treatment. Instead, it is being offered to the International Kids Fund (IKF) at charitable rates.

“We are a humble family that has struggled for a long time to get help for our daughter.  The opportunity we have been given through the International Kids Fund is a miracle, a great blessing, and we ask the community to assist in giving Laura a better quality of life,” said Daisy Beitía, the mother of the child. “I really desire to see her play and ride a bicycle like kids her age.”