Mother seeks to help sick children
"I have nothing, but there is this urge in me to help," Nicolette Johnson told THE STAR.
Her son, Andre Johnson, was born with a condition known as tibial hemimelia, an extremely rare disorder in which the person is born without the tibia (the large bone) in the lower part of the leg.
Because of this, the legs have to be amputated and supported by prosthetic legs, which costs millions of dollars.
This has caused a significant financial burden on Johnson and her husband. However, she is aiming to help others who suffer from the condition, through the Shekinah: A Jamaica Worship Event Foundation.
Johnson launched the foundation in 2013 to assist her son and offer support to others in Jamaica who are suffering form the same condition. So far, the foundation has made a small donation to one child in Mandeville, and Johnson is hoping to do more.
"Bustamante Hospital for Children told us there are six of them [with tibial hemimelia] in Jamaica. I would like to get in touch with those parents so we can come together, assist each other, and give back. It's not a lot, but we want to give back out of what we have," Johnson said.
She added, "One of the main reasons I want to meet with the parents is because we want them to take part in the foundation; to take up posts such as secretary, president, public relations officer, and so on. We want them to come on board so we can help to make this better for the children."
Shekinah: A Jamaica Worship Event is an annual gospel concert put on by the foundation to raise funds. This year's staging was held on June 25, at the Trench Town Multi-purpose Centre, and featured various gospel acts.
Although the proceeds were not as fruitful as Johnson had hoped, she is still trying to assist others with the same disorder as her son, as she knows how difficult it is to care for a child with tibial hemimelia.
" I am doing this because I know what we go through with AJ. The pants for school alone is a lot. We have to get like 12 khakis for the year because the legs keep ripping them apart, so it's expensive. The shoes that they wear with the prosthetic legs is heavy, so they can't wear just a little sneakers, they have to wear Timberland and so on," Johnson said, adding, "They can't walk long distance in the legs. We have to get transportation for them from home to school and back."
Johnson explained that the rarity of the disease, coupled with the financial burden, can often leave persons feeling alone and overwhelmed, so she is imploring persons suffering from the condition to come together to support the initiative.
"When the parents come on board, it will be like a family, because it is a very rare disorder, and we are all Jamaicans; We need to help out each other," she said.
Those wishing to contact Johnson may call her at
876 425 9347.