Everyday Heroes

Man with One Leg Walks Entire Length of South America

After a bus accident took his leg and paralyzed his daughter, he wanted to inspire her (and others) to keep following their dreams.


Yeslie Aranda, a retired bus driver, left his home country of Venezuela last year with a backpack, $30 and a dream to walk the entire length of South America. Oh. And he only has one leg.

After a bus accident in 2013 left Aranda with only one working leg and also crippled his daughter, he began building his strength on crutches. He would walk to religious shrines in his hometown, partly to motivate his daughter to keep moving despite their new disabilities, and also to thank God for saving him.

Aranda pictured with his daughter, Paola, who also lost her leg in the bus accident.

Last year, he decided to create a legacy by traveling the continent by himself, mainly on foot.

"I wanted to show people that they can achieve their goals despite their current conditions," Aranda told MSN .

"There are many people out there who have forgotten to dream big, even if they have no disabilities."

With an aluminum prosthesis and sneakers decorated with the Venezuelan flag, Aranda set out on his journey. Along the way, he relied on the kindness of strangers including a wealthy Patagonian man who let him stay in his mansion. He hitched rides with truckdrivers over some of the more treacherous terrain and met many other Venezuelans who were fleeing the country in hopes of finding a better life.

"Most of the people I have talked to want to return to Venezuela when things get better," Aranda said. "So I tell them to have strength. Everything is possible in life and one day our country will be free again."

On Saturday, despite freezing temperatures and snowstorms, he finally made it to the town of Ushuaia in Argentina, the world's southernmost city.

"I am living my dream," Aranda said as he entered the city. "My message to people is to pursue their own dreams and conquer them as well."

(Source: images and video Toda Suramerica Facebook )

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