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Not deterred - Young man refuses to bow to challenges

Published:Thursday | August 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels
Ryon Gordon struggles with a heart condition.

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

At 11 months old, Ryon Gordon was diagnosed with a heart condition that triggered a seizure which starved his brain of oxygen for close to two hours.

"It's as if he had died, he wasn't breathing, he started turning blue," Ryon's mother, Lisa Gordon, recalled. "After much effort from the doctors, I said in the name of Jesus my baby shall not die, and immediately he gasped and his breath came back," she added, crediting prayer for bringing her baby back to life.

That seizure had caused him to have a speech disorder so he does not speak as clearly as he should. As he grew older, his parents realised he had a hole in his heart and the left and right ventricles were in one instead of being separated.

Growing up, Ryon, who is now 21 years old, did not have a normal childhood. He was always in and out of the hospital and spent many days and nights at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. "He missed out a lot in school as he would fall ill and had to be rushed to hospital," Gordon told The Gleaner.

After leaving Central High School, he went to the Institute of Career Choice and later attended the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning, but did not manage to sit subjects at the external level. He is, however, able to read and write.

While in school, Ryon said his peers made fun of him because he did not play too much because of his ill health.

While sharing his story with The Gleaner, Ryon said he isn't bothered by his current situation. "Except a little pain every now and then, it doesn't hurt too much. I have just accepted it as it is and just live one day at a time," he explained.




His mother says the aim is to get him into one of the skills training programmes at HEART/Trust National Training Agency because he wants to become a certified chef. "He loves to cook, he is a practical person and is very hands on, especially in the kitchen. He is also quite creative and is full of ideas. He just needs that platform to showcase his talent," Gordon said.

The problem she faces now is with the finances as his father died two years ago, leaving her with the burden of a sick child and two other children. "We cope mentally and physically and I know if he put himself to the task, he will do good," she said, lamenting that Ryon is the strongest of her three boys.

"I will be ever so grateful if he gets the help as he is also good at drawing."

Ryon said his father's death has affected him, but he will learn to deal with that loss in time.

He has never met anyone with his illness, but would like to so he can share his story with them and listen to their ordeals and encourage them too.

"I would like a tablet so I can connect to other people out there in a similar situation like me. I would like to hear from other persons and tell them not to overwork and take life easy, but don't be all to lazy, get up and do something, try to make something of your life," Ryon said.