Naja Lewis Shining through the odds
Over the past two years, THE STAR has been tracking the progress of young Naja Lewis, a brilliant student at the Holy Family Primary School in downtown Kingston who was born with bilateral club feet, a condition in which both feet are twisted upwards.
This summer, the 10-year-old should have been basking in the fact that she just completed fifth grade at the top of her class, and attained the coveted certificate of Most Outstanding Academic Performance 2016-2017 at her school.
However, her mother, Kerry-Ann Davis, said Naja has been experiencing pain and discomfort because she has outgrown one of her leg braces and her special shoes that are to aid in correcting her legs.
"From January she has been feeling pain in her right leg. I took her to the medical technician and he adjusted the ankle-foot orthosis (AFO - special leg braces), but because she is still feeling pain, they said she will have to get a new brace and a pair of special shoes," Davis explained.
However, that will cost a total of $86,500, which Davis does not have.
Since birth, Naja has undergone several surgeries to correct her curved feet. The first occurred at just two months old. In 2015, she did a major operation in which doctors placed the special leg brace (AFO) on her right leg, and an iron cage on the left leg.
Despite her struggles, Naja has always remained at the top of her class. After THE STAR featured her story in 2015, entertainer Tifa, who suffered from the same affliction, partnered with Digicel to sponsor Lewis with a year's worth of school supplies. Tifa also purchased a new leg brace for the left leg after it was removed from the iron brace.
Both Naja and her parents said they are eternally grateful for the assistance. However, Naja has now outgrown the older AFO leg brace, and her special shoes. She will have to continue enduring the pain and discomfort until her parents can buy new ones.
Naja relies on the braces and special shoes to walk, and has been making remarkable progress with them. She still walks with a slight limp as one leg is longer than the other. Doctors said she will have to undergo another corrective surgery soon. But for now, Davis said their priority is securing a leg brace and special shoes for Naja.
Anyone wishing to help Naja can contact her mother at