The month of March is dedicated to creating awareness around Cerebral Palsy (CP). A couple of years ago we found out about Hannah and her Mum, Carly, their journey and what they were doing to educate more people about CP.
This year we got to hear two more stories from a brave Mum raising her son who was diagnosed with CP, and an inspiring Mum who’s teaching her young kids about being accepting and inclusive of kids who are different from them.
Kelebogile & Akwi’s CP Journey
My prince’s name is Akwi Neema. He is 5years old, born in February. When Akwi was born, he had a very low body weight. On day 5 of his life, he was diagnosed with extreme jaundice. I had no idea what that meant and at the time no one cared to explain this to me.
On day 6 we were transferred to another hospital. That’s when I graduated from being a new mum to being a “doctor” overnight. I had to learn a lot from blood exchange to stem cells and recently, chiropractic therapy.
Part of his brain was affected by jaundice and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. . He’s not able to sit or roll over unassisted.
Since the beginning of our CP journey, we’ve been to many places, seeking help. This has been very costly, not just financially as I’ve lost friends and a part of myself through the journey. Yet through the journey, I’ve discovered a new part of myself, met new friends and learned to live on a minimalist budget.
Along the way, I’ve been asked many questions – if I go to church? If I know Jesus? I’ve been told, “Oh! I know a woman who knows how to fix this” or, “this is caused by sleeping with men while the child is still small”. I’ve been told, “you should feed him like this”, and asked, “why do you do that to him?
All these have been hurtful as people can be so inconsiderate. My family rose up to be of great support. My little sister had to step into the role of being my psychologist in a minute. She’s held my hand during tough moments, while my cousin held the other.
I’m definitely a better person now than I was before I had Akwi. Every day’s different. Raising my prince is a rollercoaster ride but I love him to and from the end of the horizon.
He’s 80% in good health these days; watches tv, likes sports – with a special liking for cricket which I personally have no idea about. He shows emotions when watching games, has a team he supports and gets hurt and cries when they lose. He’s now able to play mentally stimulating games, play with his little brother and attends school at Hillside Nursery School. The love they show him at his school is immeasurable.
Igobe’s Story & The Power of Reading
After learning about Hannah Bee, I decided to buy the book to teach my 4-year-old about how we’re all different in the way we talk, act, walk or even look. Yet despite all our differences, we’re all special in our own unique ways.
Kids are naturally inquisitive. Yes, they will unapologetically stare at someone they perceive as “different” when they see them. My aim is to teach my kids that we as people may be different, but what makes us different from the next person isn’t bad.
Reading the book to him as a bedtime story, I try to explain as much as he can understand what CP is and why Hannah needs “stabilizers”. It’s only been a few months now and I am seeing so much growth in him in this regard. I’ve also learned a lot myself through Hannah and her friends, that I am teaching him about.
I hope that by continuing to teach him that we’re all different and beautiful in our uniqueness, I will answer less of, “what’s wrong with her?” and answer more of, “what can I do to help her?”
If kids learn from young it grows with them. Then surely we as parents will achieve the goal of an accepting and inclusive world.
We are all different, each and every one of us is made unique! Look at the flowers outside, they are all different colours, shapes and sizes. Wouldn’t gardens be boring if they only had one kind of flower?Hannah Bee Book
We’re so proud of the impact that Hannah Bee’s had in changing the narrative around what we know about CP. From virtual sing-alongs to CP awareness drives, painting the town green with fun and teaching families about the beauty of celebrating everyone’s uniqueness.
If you would like a copy of the Hannah Bee book, contact Carly at [email protected] to buy a copy for P100. As always, we would appreciate for you to share this story to support this amazing local cause.