Jaden needs his glasses
Mother seeks help for son suffering from cerebral palsy
Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer
The story is often told of how helpful Jamaicans are to persons in their time of need.
But the awful truth is that sometimes those who reach out for assistance find themselves victimised by pranksters and others unconcerned with helping their neighbour.
Twenty-four-year-old Trudy Francis desperately needs to find or replace a pair of lost glasses that belonged to her 16-month-old son, Jaden McIntosh, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Francis realised that she never made it home with the glasses after returning from a treat on December 12 of last year. Without any idea of when or where the glasses got misplaced, she went the extra mile by putting up posters all over downtown Kingston asking anyone who had seen the glasses to return them.
But instead of help, her plea has led to misery.
"People keep calling the phone and saying they have found his glasses, but I need to pay them for it, and stuff like that, and this is a serious matter," Francis told The Gleaner yesterday after the newspaper contacted her to find out how the search was going.
"Some mischievous children are even making prank calls about the glasses."
The pair of glasses, which Francis received as a gift from her mother, cost $21,000 when they were purchased, but with the challenging responsibility of taking care of the expenses related to Jaden's condition, she has not been able to pay for a replacement.
Francis said Jaden suffers from myopia (near-sightedness) and Nystagmus, a condition that causes the eyes to move involuntarily from side to side in a rapid, swinging motion rather than staying fixed on an object or person.
"The doctor said that (visual) static is in his eyes and it causes him to cast his eyes, so the glasses help him to focus his vision and stop his eyes [from] rolling all over," she added, unable to hide her frustration.
The missing glasses are just part of the struggle Francis faces with young Jaden as he is also in need of a pair of hearing aids, which she said cost $245,000.
Young Jaden is not able to walk, sit, creep, or speak.
"What hurts is that I am not working, and his dad does his very best to assist him, but it's a lot to take in because every time I visit the hospital, there is something new," said Francis.
She said that after her son was born, she was able to take him home with no hassle and the impression she got was that the child was healthy and well.
But after taking him home and inspecting him, she realised he had jaundice.
Two nurses visited her house three days after the child was born, and after pointing out her concerns, she was told that the condition wasn't anything to worry about and was instructed to feed the child every two hours.
"I did as they instructed, but I realised that my son started to change to an orange-looking colour," Francis said.
"When I went back to the hospital, the nurse started blaming me and saying I was careless why this happened and it's my fault."
The doctors, according to Francis, concluded that the child had cerebral palsy.
Francis said Jaden will need to do a series of early stimulation therapy sessions to assist him with his condition as well as other medical tests.
"I just need to know my child will be okay, and I really need the help because it costs a lot to take care of him and do all the tests that he needs to do," she added.
If anyone has seen Jaden's glasses or wishes to assist, please contact Trudy Francis at 566-6949.