Wed | Aug 16, 2017

A wheelchair for Whorms - Sports-loving paraplegic braving the odds in Sunshine City

Published:Sunday | August 21, 2016 | 8:00 AMCorey Robinson
Surragee Whorms Sr (left) shares difficulties faced by his son, Surragee Whorms Jr.

The sight of 24-year-old Surragee Whorms Jr walking on his hands with feet hoisted is quite shocking for first-time visitors, but to the residents of Daytona in Greater Portmore, that is a regular sight.

For the residents, seeing the sports-loving paraplegic getting around by any means is welcome, as they say Surragee is a loving soul who just needs help.

According to the young man's father, Surragee Whorms Sr, his son was born with a condition which denies him the ability to use his feet or control his waste. He is wheelchair-bound and has to wear incontinent diapers.

Though times have always been rough, it seems things have been getting bumpier, especially since the death of young Surragee's mother some years ago.

His father, now 52, can barely provide for himself and his son except for their house, which he managed to purchase after years of running errands at the Kingston Public Hospital.

The elder man has several children but he admits that Surragee, who he describes as his "shadow", is his favourite. Both are lovers of sports and smile with ears erect at the mention of the game of cricket.

"It's just me and him. And more time you will see him take him wheelchair and go outside and come back in and we sit down and reason," said the father.

"If him see any cricket or any little thing going on up the road there so, him grab him wheelchair and him gone.

"I love him. Is him alone me have," said the elder Whorms, explaining that he stopped working years ago when it came down to the decision between employment and taking care of his sickly son.

Today, when he is not taking care of his son, he spends his time tending to an almost barren garden nearby.

 

SUPPORTED BY RELATIVES

 

He is supported by relatives who provide the duo with dinner each night, and on some occasions they get assistance from relatives living in the country.

"He is a man weh you can't make stay hungry, and certain times when him hungry and you don't have anything to give him is like you don't know what to do," the father said, chuckling in embarrassment.

Last Saturday, young Surragee beamed with excitement from his wheelchair as he watched children participate in the first- ever Daytona community sports day.

He did not support any of the teams but waved as each winner passed the line.

Unlike his father who is more worried about his son's day-to-day existence, Surragee is more concerned about his mobility.

And despite being able to climb the grille, let himself out of the house, and walk blocks on the palm of his hands, Surragee's greatest desire is a new wheelchair.

"I got this one and it was uncomfortable and started to tear up. The screws that used to be in it was squeezing my knees too," he slurred through a smile.

"My friends dem fix it for me with ropes like this but it is still uncomfortable. So any time anything keeping, like now, I always come and look if I see someone from the government to ask them for a chair," said Surragee.

Corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com