UHWI Physiotherapy helps Tyreke stand tall
Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
One of the joys of parenting is just to see your child running around, enjoying the wide open spaces as he plays.
For a time, Gerado Jackson wasn't sure his son, Tyreke, would be able to do that. Tyreke has a condition called spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy (CP). CP refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination.
Tyreke was diagnosed with it at age two. To help correct his condition, he had surgery three months ago.
As part of his post-surgery treatment, Tyreke does sessions at the Physiotherapy Department of the University Hospital of the West Indies. He has been working with a therapist for the past two months.
"It (therapy) has been very useful to us," said Gerado. "He was able to move but he had some limitations because of the condition."
Tyreke’s dad is more than pleased with his son’s progress.
"For example he has a better posture when walking. He has more balance, he can co-ordinate better," he said. "We usually come every week, but based on how he's performing, they've decreased it to once every two weeks."
For Tyreke's grandmother, Delrose Jackson, it's heartwarming to see him moving about.
"Him just use the walker twice since him get it," she said. "After the therapist saw him she said, ‘OK, him can leave that now’."
She said it took Tyreke about six weeks to get to this stage. As The Gleaner team wondered aloud if Tyreke is ready to start running, his father and grandmother looked at each other and smiled broadly.
"Him don't want to walk, all him want to do is run," grandma said with a laugh. "We have to beg him to walk."
Though he still wears braces on his legs, she noted that was on the recommendation of the therapist.
The Jacksons thanked The Gleaner for its initiative in partnering with the physiotherapy department, one of two organisations which will benefit from funds generated by the upcoming Gleaner 180 Run, and encouraged other entities to do the same in future.
While targeting 3,000 entrants, The Gleaner has guaranteed the value of a minimum 1,000 participants each toward assisting the UHWI Physiotherapy Department and Peace and Love in Society (PALS).
"It is very important based on the fact that most people do not know the level of professionalism that these physiotherapists display here," Gerado said. "It's good when people like you guys highlight them and make it known to the wider population."
As is not uncommon with persons with cerebral palsy, Tyreke's speech isn't always clear but CP doesn't always affect learning. His father proudly states that Tyreke is doing well at basic school. Tyreke told us about his favourite sneakers, that "they light up when I walk", and after showing off some confident steps for our cameras, Tyreke sidled up to our photographer to see the images. His bright smile signaled his approval.
"He's a very determined child," said Gerado. "Knowing that he has such a disability, it didn't stop him."
And with the constant reinforcement of his therapist, there's no reason to believe Tyreke won't live a normal, happy life, standing tall and walking upright.