Paul Sifuentes Jr. entered the world 4 weeks early on December 29th, 2003. There was quite a commotion in the delivery room because no one knew what was going on with PJ. He had bilateral club feet, arms that were stuck in extension, flexed wrists, and no mobility in his shoulders.
In NICU they ran every test under the sun and finally brought in a renowned geneticist who diagnosed Paul with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. Though it was rare, PJ exhibited a very typical, textbook-style case of Amyoplasia (A type of AMC.). His prognosis ranged from he not living through his first year, to he will never walk, to who knows what the possibilities could be. And Paul has truly lived his life as an example of that third possibility.
He began walking at age 2 after a life of physical therapy, standers, and occupational therapy. At age 3 he began playing soccer and he never let anything stand in his way. In his preschool/ early elementary years PJ became a candidate for a new brace that would allow him to use his arms more. Paul used this brace for more than 4 years and this allowed his arms to become loose and able to passively make the motions needed in daily life.
Paul had 13 surgeries before he reached the age of 13 to repair joints or create muscles in places they didn’t exist. One of his final surgeries was to take a part of his very strong triceps muscle and create an artificial bicep muscle. This surgery allowed PJ for the very first time in his life to actively bend his own elbow, without the use of gravity or another surface. This made his special arm brace no longer needed.
Unfortunately, when Paul entered middle school, he didn’t make the 7th grade soccer team but he began kicking for his school’s football team. He still wanted to play soccer and was determined to make the 8th grade team, which he did! He is now a sophomore and has made the soccer team every year since the 8th grade and kicking for his JV’s football team!
This kid isn’t all brawn either…
Despite all of his medical and athletic endeavors, Paul has remained in all honors classes since 7th grade as a mostly A/B student with an interest in robotics and coding. Paul also a young man devoted to his faith and completed his first communion & confirmation this year and serves his church as an altar server bi-weekly. He continues to excel and work through any challenges that come his way with his calm, cool, and collected personality.