Shania making strides after being hobbled by rare bone tumour
Shania Lawrence was nine years old when she was diagnosed with a rare bone tumour called chondroblastoma. The diagnosis came one year after she fell and hurt her knee while playing in her grandmother's yard in Porus, Manchester.
Researchers have not yet found a cause of the non-cancerous tumour that begins in cartilage and causes pain, joint stiffness and swelling. There has been no established medical link between the fall she suffered and the pain and discomfort she has to endure.
Lawrence, a former Wolmer's Girls student, who lives in Waterford, Portmore, St Catherine, said that the situation was so bad that she went under the knife four times between 2010 and 2014.
Her parents, Camille Chance and Barrington Lawrence, sought help at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, only to be told that the hospital did not have the required equipment to conduct the surgery. Her mother, determined to get help, reached out to US-based surgeon, Dr Jorges Fabegras, at Children's Orthopaedics of Atlanta, and asked that her daughter be included in a charity programme that was providing assistance to children with similar conditions. She was lucky to be included, but although the operation on her ailing left knee was a success, there was another setback for Lawrence.
"Because they didn't do anything to the right knee, it ended up start growing more and I was now leaning more to one side," Lawrence told THE STAR.
"So we had to go to Bustamante, and what they did was to drill a hole in the right knee to stop the growth." She said she suffered long periods of excruciating pain and was the subject of much ridicule at school.
However, despite her troubles, Lawrence, who currently studies hospitality and tourism management at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, said she always had hope in God.
"The pain that I was feeling with the tumour was unbearable. I couldn't walk, I couldn't bend, and sometimes I couldn't move," she said.
"Growing up, I've always had a lot of faith. God knew that I couldn't do what I am doing with one knee. He gave me another chance. The knee was in such a bad state. I am so grateful that I can be able to walk. After the surgery, I went through some very lengthy physiotherapy sessions, because I had to learn how to walk again."
Now 21, and an assistant clerk of court, Lawrence is imploring others to always believe in themselves and put their trust in God even during the hardest of times. She said she felt compelled to share her story, hoping to motivate and inspire anyone who is currently experiencing difficulties in their lives.
"I have always talked about my story to close people and I see the impact it has had. I believe that my story can inspire someone who is going through something similar to never lose hope and never stop believing in God," stated Lawrence, who also heaped praises on her parents for their support and efforts.