Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Father struggles to care for wheelchair-bound son

Published:Monday | August 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMCraig Thomas
Kevin McCalla talks about the struggles of caring for his only son.

Kevin McCalla just wants the best for his son, but a series of events has contrived to limit his ability to meet the needs of his only child.

His son, 11-year-old Jahim McCalla, was born with sickle cell disease, the complications of which have resulted in him becoming crippled and confined to a wheelchair.

"We were at home and he started to complain that him feel a way, like him foot dem tighten up, and when I bring him to the hospital, them say they couldn't do nothing about it and he got crippled - just like that," the elder McCalla explained. That incident occurred last year after a long period during which his son did not receive medical treatment. McCalla laments the fact that his son became crippled because he has not been able to afford the medication and treatment his son needs.

But being crippled has not prevented Jahim from excelling in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), which he sat earlier this year. Although his father would have preferred that his son repeat the year before doing the exam, he was persuaded by Jahim's teacher, who expressed confidence in his ability to excel in the exams.




The proud father disclosed that he was genuinely surprised at the excellent results earned by his son given the numerous hardships he has had to face since becoming crippled. Not only did Jahim pass for Wolmer's Boys' School, the school of his choice, he also earned grades in the 90s.

"Jahim is very hard working. He takes his school work seriously, but I don't think I will be able to send him to Wolmer's because for him to travel from Old Harbour with the wheelchair would be too hard, and I can't afford the transportation," he told The Gleaner.

McCalla, who is a vendor and occasional handyman, says he has been struggling financially as all of his resources are spent on caring for his son during periods of extreme illness when he has to be hospitalised. His situation has been made even worse by the fact that he lost all of his goods in a massive fire that gutted the Old Harbour Market three weeks ago.

"My hope for Jahim is that me, as his father, can reach in a position where I can take care of him better so he can get his medication and live a more comfortable life," he said.