When we first met Milagros, the little girl had already become a symbol of hope for people around the world.
Milagros was born with a rare genetic disorder called sirenomelia, also known as "mermaid syndrome." Her legs were born fused together and she had no external genitalia. Most babies with this condition die during birth or before they are born.
When her parents, Ricardo and Sara, first saw their newborn, they were afraid they had been cursed. "When I finally saw her and saw her little legs, I was shaking and crying," Sara says. "All I could do was cry."
Ricardo and Sara refused to give up hope for their daughter and even named her Milagros, meaning "miracles" in Spanish. Despite the odds against her, Milagros lived to see her first birthday. But without surgery to separate her legs, doctors said she wouldn't live much longer. After a five-hour surgery, Ricardo and Sara, along with the rest of the world watching on live TV, received the miraculous news—Milagros survived the rare and dangerous operation.