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Frank Vascellaro’s Crutches Now Help Tanzanian Teen

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(credit: CBS) Frank Vascellaro
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By Frank Vascellaro, WCCO-TV

ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO)A pair of crutches that helped WCCO’s Frank Vascellaro get around after hip surgery are now doing some good halfway around the world.

A 15-year-old girl named Ono is now using them to help with a birth defect. And the people who brought them to her couldn’t be prouder.

Sharon Ellis tends the Tanzania board at Central Lutheran Church in Elk River, keeping track of the children whom churchgoers support.

“We have 376 children that are sponsored by our church,” Ellis said.

And now she has something extra to post.

“I’m going to be putting up the pictures of Frank giving me the crutches for Ono,” she said.

Sharon and her husband saw WCCOs’ stories on my hip replacements, and the Mobilegs crutches I used.

So they asked how to get one for the 15-year-old girl they support – Ono – who uses a wood crutch all the time because one of her legs is 5-inches shorter than the other.

“Her school sweater was completely ragged from the harshness of that crutch, so I think it’s going to be much better for her,” said Ellis.

I gave my crutches to Sarah and Jack, and then Pastor Paul Johannson presented them to Ono during a recent trip to Tanzania. Ono wasn’t sure at first if she wanted to part ways with her mobility tool.

“A little apprehensive about receiving a new crutch, because this wooden one had just become so much a part of her,” Johannson said.

But didn’t take long for her to feel comfortable. Ono and her father then asked the pastor to send me a message.

“They wanted to make sure we said, ‘Thank you,’” Johannson said.

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