Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Moved by love: Family of child with cerebral palsy gets new home after fire tragedy

Published:Friday | December 3, 2021 | 12:08 AM
Trisha-Anne Bennett shares a smile with 12-year-old son Orion, who is living with cerebral palsy. The disease has taken away little Orion’s ability to chew, talk or move. BOOM Energy Drink in partnership with Food For The Poor Jamaica built a two-bedroom
Trisha-Anne Bennett shares a smile with 12-year-old son Orion, who is living with cerebral palsy. The disease has taken away little Orion’s ability to chew, talk or move. BOOM Energy Drink in partnership with Food For The Poor Jamaica built a two-bedroom home for the family of eight.
Trisha-Anne Bennett (right) expresses her gratitude to Crystal Young (left), marketing assistant at Wisynco during a visit to check on Bennett and her family in Holt, St Elizabeth, recently.
Trisha-Anne Bennett (right) expresses her gratitude to Crystal Young (left), marketing assistant at Wisynco during a visit to check on Bennett and her family in Holt, St Elizabeth, recently.
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The birth of a child is one of the most joyous events for a family. However, there are so many uncertainties that come with childbirth. A family rarely prepares for the daily challenges of attending to a child living with cerebral palsy.

Orion Hanson lays in bed. The frail 12-year-old boy, who appears to be no older than six-years old, is living with cerebral palsy. His head falls off the pillow but he is not able to raise himself back to the pillow. He is unable to lift himself to the spot where he spends most of his days.

Forced to be in bed almost all the time, Orion experiences stiffness in his joints and is unable to move on his own. Though he is unable to chew, move, talk, walk or open his fingers, his smile reveals an optimistic child who is surrounded by love.

Affectionately called ‘Boo’ by his six siblings, he depends on his primary caregiver, his mother, Trisha-Anne Bennett, and he is happy when his sisters and brothers assist in caring for him.

Though Orion could not speak about that devastating day when the three-room wooden structure they called home went up in flames, his mother recounts rushing into the engulfed structure to save Orion who was laying on the bed gasping for air, then returning to retrieve her children’s birth certificates and other important documents.

A few months after the horrific tragedy, Food For The Poor, moved by love, shared the family’s demise with BOOM Energy Drink who made the decision to sponsor a new home for the family.

Brand manager for BOOM asserts that, “BOOM is a Jamaican-produced and – owned brand and is determined to give back to our local communities and support those who are uplifting the vulnerable. We are living in unprecedented times. Times like these reminds us of values needed to help others to persevere, such as empathy and compassion.”

TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

Nestled in the hills of Holt, Santa Cruz, Orion’s new home was gifted to him and his family in time for Christmas. The family now enjoys a contemporary designed two-bedroom house equipped with a solar panel that powers small electronics and light bulbs inside the home, as well as a water tank for water harvesting and indoor kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Trisha-Anne, a praying woman, is thankful for the kindness that has been shown towards her family. As the full-time caregiver for a disabled child who needs constant care, she is unable to seek full-time employment.

Trisha-Anne explains that, “As a single mom, taking care of a child with a disability is very stressful. I have to push myself because I love him. At times, he will cry but we don’t know what is wrong with him but we have to be by his side all the time to feed him and to change him so he doesn’t have bed sores.”

This fire is not the first tragedy to strike the family. In 2016, Trisha-Anne’s partner and the father of six of her children was shot dead at their St Elizabeth home on his way from work. This loss has put a strain on not only her family but their finances since he was the sole breadwinner of the household.

“Ryan Hanson, the father of my children, was killed on April 12, 2016. I was left to fend on my own with my children. If it was not for good family and friends. I would have been left to suffer.”