Jodeon Lawerence Keeps Hope Alive
Royal Flat, Manchester:
Though she got pregnant at a tender age, she knew of the associated responsibilities and so she continued to work and hold her own. She prepared for a boy and encouraged the thoughts of later buying footballs, PE gears and khaki suits for school. What she made no plans for was a condition that would make all she had hoped for impossible.
Jodeon Davis-Lawerence was a devastated young woman who cried day in and out after hearing that her son, Nickardo King, had a severe case of cerebral palsy.
"It was a challenging, devastating, depressing period for me. At three months old, he had no head control, no balance, nothing. I brought him to the paediatrician, who diagnosed him with psychomotor retardation. Then at seven months, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
"I cried a lot. I stayed in and I couldn't manage to see children who were normal. It took me five years, after visiting doctors and being told that it would take a miracle for his condition to change, to finally accept it."
Admitting she doesn't have the strength she thinks is necessary to deal with her current situation, Davis-Lawerence says she looks to her mother, her daughter and immediate family for support.
"My mother is the only person who is truly there for me. My other family members cannot manage him. Before now, I had a job that I could take him to, but now I have a different job that requires me to work during the nights, and so, I am with him during the days and my mother, for the most part, takes care of him during the night. If there is no one to take care of him, I have to lose a day from work, but there is no conflict with my boss."
Having to do everything for her son - from changing his diapers to carrying him to feeding him liquids, as he doesn't chew, and still helping him have fun moments, Davis-Lawerence is hoping she will one day be able to get him a tutor.
"My ultimate wish for him has always been that he'll be able to walk and possibly go to school, but we see that is not so possible. The doctor says he needs a special walker, which costs about US$2,000 (JMD200,000), and we are financially drained at the moment from seizure medications to other supplies. But, we want him to be engaged by a professional who can work with him and help him."
Stating that the condition of her son does not put a strain on her marriage, Davis-Lawerence is hopeful that her daughter will continue to inspire her, give her strength, and that her husband will continue to support her.
"These are things that keep me going - the affection from loved ones and the motivation. All hope is not lost. Once there is life, there is hope," she said.