Wheels for Romene - Mobile-challenged six-year-old gets motorised wheelchair
Like other children, Romene Edwards greatly anticipates the start of the school year. Unlike most, the six-year-old has a major challenge which prevents him from walking.
Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at an early age, he is unable to walk owing to the damage to his spinal cord.
Hydrocephalus is a condition in which excess fluid builds up within the cavities or ventricles of the brain. Romene has undergone two procedures so far to tackle the problem. Doctors have placed a shunt from his brain to his spine to drain excess fluid, and have conducted spinal surgery on him.
Karen Campbell, the boy’s mother, said his mobility has been significantly impeded by the illness. And the fact that he did not have a wheelchair did not help.
“It has been stressing because we have to lift him all the time.
“The bus driver who brings him to school has to lift him also, so I really needed the help with a wheelchair. Carrying him around is not easy, he is heavy and my back hurts. Sometimes, he is creeping around and gets minor bruises,” Campbell said.
So, while other parents were preparing for back-to-school by purchasing books, school uniform and shoes, Campbell’s priority was to source a wheelchair to enable her son to be mobile as he enters grade one at Drews Avenue Primary in Kingston. After hearing about Food For The Poor’s (FFP) wheelchair programme, the mother went asking, and the charitable organisation answered the call.
“I called and followed up many times until I heard that I got through. I felt so good. One big stress came off me!” she said.
Romene received a Generation 3 wheelchair, his first. FFP estimates that at least 75 million persons worldwide need wheelchairs but are unable to afford one.
David Shoucair, manager of special recipients projects at FFP Jamaica, said the organisation is glad to be assisting young Romene.
“Food For The Poor considers it our mission to enhance the lives of our brothers and sisters. We are not only assisting Romene and aiding in his education, but we are providing relief to his mother, who has lovingly been carrying him around everywhere,” Shoucair said.