FC Dallas soccer player Atiba Harris gave Markos and Tamrat Bogale shiny Christmas gift bags with personalized FC Dallas jerseys and pairs of sandals from St. Kitts, his home country.

By Elvia Limón (Dallas News) |

PLANO, TX―Markos Bogale paced anxiously between his walker and a gray chair Friday afternoon inside a room at Medical Center of Plano. Nearby was his bedridden twin brother, Tamrat.

Soon, the source of their anxiety appeared. Both brothers smiled as FC Dallas soccer player Atiba Harris entered the room and handed them each a shiny Christmas gift bag with a personalized FC Dallas jersey and a pair of sandals from St. Kitts, the country where Harris grew up.

“I’m so happy,” Markos said as he fist-pumped Harris.

The 16-year-old Ethiopian soccer fans hugged the jerseys as they traded high-fives and hugs with Harris, 31. The teenagers will spend the next few months in North Texas recovering from several surgeries to treat their severe cases of scoliosis.

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The boys traveled alone from their home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Plano in early December after meeting their doctor, Ted Belanger, in May during his annual trip to the country. Belanger performs back surgeries in Ethiopia, but sometimes gets permission to have certain patients come to Plano for the procedure when the probability of surviving the surgery in their native country is slim.

Scoliosis forces a person’s spine into a sideways curve, usually in the shape of an “S” or a “C.” Depending on the severity, the condition can be treated with either a brace or surgery.

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