In Guatemala a short time ago, a little boy was taking his first steps. A little girl … taking step after step after step.
And now, 2,500 miles away in Tampa, Dino and Lisa Scanio are already planning for their next trip to visit the children of the Central American country.
Dino is a pediatric orthotist.
“An orthotist is the guy who builds the braces for existing extremities, and we cover basically from halos, from the head all the way down to the foot,” Dino said.
Dino and Lisa co-founded the nonprofit Foot Foundation in 2007. Since 2008, Dino he has made annual volunteer trips to Guatemala to work with poor children in physical and financial need.
“Every year, I go to Guatemala with a select team of three to four guys, and we provide custom orthotic and prosthetic devices for children,” Dino said.
But the mission of the Foot Foundation is threefold. Lisa is in charge of fundraising.
“I handle the local charities. We try to give back to local charities in Tampa,” she said.
The third tier is educating the public about a neuromuscular challenge faced by many, including their 4-year-old son Gianluca. He has progressive mitochondrial disease.
“It’s a form of mitochondrial disease where it’s the body’s inability to utilize energy,” Dino explained.
Symptoms include loss of motor control, muscle weakness and pain.
And so for the Scanios, third-generation Tampa natives, the work of the Foot Foundation includes compassion for children far away, support of charities at home , and, of course, love of family.