Christmas Angels | Lakisha and Damion light up communities in south Manchester
Officially, Lakisha Langley is only a community health aide attached to the Manchester Health Department and the Cross Keys Health Centre in south Manchester.
But in reality, she is an angel to scores of aged and shut-in residents of a number of south Manchester communities, including Cocoa Walk, Marlie Hill and Thatch Walk.
According to Lakisha, early in her career she realised there were a number of aged and shut-in residents in the area needing medical care.
While she could address the issues faced on the health side, she needed help to provide care packages, so she joined forces with Damion Hamilton, a community member living in Canada. That partnership resulted in the birth of the Ageing Hearts Foundation.
"Ageing Hearts is non-profit charity foundation (and) our aim is to assist elderly persons by volunteering our time and donating to enhance their lifestyles, and also impact their socio-economic diversity in their communities," said Lakisha.
"We crave to make a positive contribution on the three communities ... and we will render our assistance through health, motivation and donation," added Lakisha.
She said last Christmas the foundation focused on 14 homes, giving gift baskets to the elderly.
"Initially, I thought of 10 persons, but in discussion with Damion and the councillor for the area, Iceval Brown, we assisted 14 persons," said Lakisha, as she pointed out that the partners started helping the elderly even before formalising the Ageing Heart Foundation.
Even now the foundation is not registered, but Lakisha and Damion are doing the paperwork to address that, as some potential donors have requested that it should acquire official status.
Because of his job in Canada, Hamilton's preference is to treat the elderly in September, and last time, around 25 persons were helped with health services, care packages and foot care for the diabetic.
"We get money and buy the stuff for the care packages. This year we cooked for them. We gave haircuts, pedicures, and Damion was able to ship four barrels with foodstuff so they were all given gift packages.
"Father Patrick from the Cross Keys Catholic Church allowed us to use the church for the function. He assisted with material as we also repaired a home in Thatch Walk, where we replaced the zinc, replaced the flooring and also repaired sections of the veranda," said Lakisha, as she noted that several other persons assisted in the process.
They included Ian Crawford, environmentalist and school principal, who provided transport free of cost to the shut-ins for their treat.
This Christmas, Lakisha and her team will be visiting persons who were unable to make the September treat with more care packets.
"We will be given them baskets and I am currently trying to get some diapers for them. A foot care specialist, who was unable to make the treat in September, will be seeing them this Christmas to offer care," added Lakisha, who is adamant that "it's all about giving back".