Introducing Lourdes Mack

Lourdes was born in April 2, 2002. She lives with both parent and an older sister. Lourdes born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephaly (Myelomeningolece, one of the most severe forms of Spina Bifida) at level Lumbar 3-4, which impact her mobility and sensation from her waist down.

She had her first surgery to repair her spine the day she born and stayed for 9 days at NICU at UCLA. Three weeks later she head back for her second surgery to add a valve on her brain (VP Shunt) that will remediate the hydrocephaly, right after surgery she suffer from several seizures due to a blood clogged on her brain, as for this she remained on anti-seizures medication for the next 3 years. With intensive physical and occupational therapy, swimming and an early intervention program Lourdes reached her developmental milestones a little later than a typical kid.

Lourdes currently uses a wheelchair and with lots of extra effort a walker for indoors or very short distances.

By the age of 3, Lourdes transfers from the early intervention program to a preschool collaborative program, where she was mainstreamed with typical peers and continues to receive her therapies. At that point Lourdes went through a stage of Selective mutism ( Selective mutism (SM) is a psychiatric disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech is unable to speak in given situations or to specific people. Selective mutism usually co-exist with shyness or social anxiety), to help her alleviate this, she had again intensive behavioral intervention at home and at school, having to go through several legal strategies to prove at the school district the need of the services required.

By the age of 5 she had her third surgery, a bilateral hip surgery that kept her on a cast (from her chest to her ankles) for the next 12 weeks. 10 months later she had her fourth surgery to remove the screws that were placed on her hips on her last surgery. Hip dislocation is common on the Spina Bifida population.

By her 7th. birthday the valve on her brain stopped working, suffering with symptoms of brain pressure, and she had to go back to surgery to replace it. The year after the symptoms from shunt malfunction and brain pressure came back in a severe form and she had 3 brain surgeries in one week, this time she remained 10 days at ICU, the nerves around her eyes become paralyzed from the pressure and she loose some control of her eyes movements, her nerves went back to normal function after a few months. This hospitalization had been so far the most dramatic and dangerous of all, she is very fortunate to maintain her cognitive functions and speech after these episodes of brain pressure and failed surgeries.

In June 2012 she had her 9th surgery, a bilateral ankle, tibia, tendon and left knee, to help her with the internal rotation of her legs and feet pronation, this keep on leg cast for 9 weeks.

In volunteer and service to the community, Lourdes started doing volunteer work before she was 2 years old, when she was the poster child for Orthopedic Institute for Children; they put on a three story billboard to celebrate the 75th. anniversary of the hospital and Lourdes was on it, we can see the poster from the 110 FWY!

Lourdes' bio is featured on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Guide. On top of this, she also volunteers for Global Mobility, a non profit organization that colects, refurbish and provides wheelchairs and equipment at no cost to man, woman and children trough developing countries.

By the age of three she became a volunteer for Shane’s Inspiration, participating continuously since then of their annual galas, fundraisers, walks, parks openings, and other events; also her pictures had been used in several promotional materials for Shane’s Inspiration.

Lourdes had been doing modeling on the runway for WYNGS, Old Navy and Coach Art since the age of 5, all this as a volunteer to support such organizations.

In sports she plays wheelchair basketball, kayaks and hand cycle with UCLA Adaptive Recreation, since 2009. She played wheelchair basketball with Rancho Los Amigos from 2009 to 2014.

Since 2010 she attends many walks either just for exercise or to fundraise for the Spina Bifida Association, Shane’s Inspiration and Rancho Los Amigos.

Lourdes had been training in swimming since 18 months old, now she can cross the pool by using mainly her arms; this is something extraordinary for someone who has impaired mobility and sensation from her waist down. She also had been participating in adaptive surf with Life Rolls On in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In 2011, 2013 and 2014 she tried on the skate park with Life Rolls On, at the event "They will Skate Again", earning two recognition awards as "The Best Shredder" in 2013 and "Balls to the Wall" on 2014. Her motivation to try extreme sports was when a peer from school asked her if she ever went to a skate park on a wheelchair.

Lourdes was also the recipient of two grants for sports chairs, trough Challenged Athletes her first one for a basketball wheelchair in 2013 and in 2015 for a tennis wheelchair. In 2015 she was part of their annual Gala "Challenged Athletes Foundation, a celebration of Will" , to honor the legacy of Robin Williams, featuring inspirational stories from grantees, who's path was reshaped by obtaining the adaptive equipment, prosthetic or sports lessons they needed to achieve their dreams and goals.

Lourdes had been attending camp at The Painted Turtle since 2007 where she had the opportunity to try on ropes, horseback riding, archery and camp related activities, at this place she had meet several friends who has Spina Bifida like her and she continue in communication with them.

She is very well known at camp for her energy and charisma, for this she was chosen to be interview by the LA Times about her experience at camp, she also attend and sing on stage with a group of campers to do a Live Celebration for Carole King, to benefit The Painted Turtle, they were joined on stage by Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Katy Perry, Alicia Kings, Herp Alpert to name a few.

In the arts and music, Lourdes had been taking piano, viola and guitar lessons trough school and trough Coach Art since 2011. She had been doing recitals at school and private presentations as well in piano and viola.

In the dramatic arts, Lourdes express interest to do theater sometime after she overcome her Selective mutism, so after many search and some previous drama lessons in YMCA and "Kids on Stage", in 2010 she finally found a place to do what is her passion: Musical Theater, at YADA (Youth Academy for Dramatic Arts), she is on the alumni honor roll of the academy, she performed on Annie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Grease, Hairspray and The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Oklahoma and the lead role as Jasmine in Aladdin Jr. In 2011 she got her first professional roll in The Nutcracker with the Joffrey Ballet at The Music Center, she was the only child on a wheelchair on the show and the first one to be at this show in LA.

Lourdes has been on two school musical productions: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

In Nov 2012 she did her debut on TV with a speaking part on "Private Practice" on national TV. She played as a girl with Spina Bifida. For someone who suffers from extreme anxiety this was a monumental achievement.

At school, Lourdes maintains very good grades, despite her frequent hospitalizations and challenges related to her medical condition such neurological and hydrocephaly issues related (like difficulty in the areas of math and memorization); limited mobility, and neurogenic bladder to name a few, despite all these challenges, the sports, music and theater had been excellent allies to overcome the adversity of the nature of her condition. And the volunteer opportunities and service to the community had been exposing her and opening many doors to be well known on wheelchair users and disability community.

She was crowned Little Miss Wheelchair CA 2013 by The Ms. Wheelchair CA Foundation on Feb. 3, 2013, as a title holder she is responsible to be the voice of the boys and girls that like her have a medical condition to take care of, however despite the challenges and adversity they are entitled to perform and achieve their dreams. Her most recent TV work, was for a national campaign for Children's Miracle Network which airs every year at ends of July, since 2013 and was aired again on 2015 and 2016.

Lourdes has been actively participating with Infinite Flow, A Wheelchair Dance Company since February 2015, her participation includes student workshops, public presentations and promotional videos, disability awareness workshops & social events.

Lourdes is a member of Can-Do Musos, a global organzation which provides support and showcases musicians living with a disability, and on the 22nd January 2017, she presented with other Can-Do Musos members from the USA, Chile, and Australia at The Winter NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center.

In February 2017, Lourdes appeared in an episode of ABC's hit series Speechless. Speechless is a series which focuses on the DiMeo family who's eldest son JJ has Cerebral Palsy. Lourdes was an extra for a scene which involved the ice hockey team being at the DiMeo house.

She is currently playing wheelchair basketball with UCLA Adaptive Recreation and continues to join in for hand cycles meets, 5k's, inclusive dance and looking forward for summer wheelchair sports camps this 2017 and surf season.