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He is our gift coping with cerebral palsy

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He is our gift coping with cerebral palsy
UNITED IN ADVERSITY: Botsile and his parents

Sitting contently on her queen bed, flanked on either side by her adoring husband and six-year-old son, Kemmonye Judah and her small family are the picture of happiness.

It has not always been this way.

32-year-old Kemmonye lives in a one-bedroomed house in Maun’s Moeti ward with her husband, Petoro Moyambo, 36, and their young son, Botsile Wayne Judah.

Like most six year olds, Botsile is a happy, inquisitive little child who brings his proud parents much joy and pleasure.

Unlike most six year olds, however, Botsile suffers from severe cerebral palsy (CP).

The condition is caused by brain damage and results in the loss or impairment of motor function (the ability to control ones movements).

Currently there is no cure, although treatment and therapy help manage the effects on the body.

The youngster was diagnosed with CP as a three-month-old baby, following a difficult birth.

Casting her mind back to 2010, Kemmonye cannot help shuddering as she recalls the trauma of her son’s entry into the world.

“I experienced severe labour pains and the unborn Botsile would swift to come out and then abruptly slip inside again for 16 hours until I delivered by caesarean section,” remembers the currently unemployed mother.

After the birth Botsile, who was agitated and stressed, was put on oxygen for a week before he was declared ‘normal’.

Three months later, much to his parent’s shock, he was diagnosed with CP.

“My life reached rock bottom because I never saw it coming. It was the darkest time ever; my family shunned and rejected me that time.

“Thoughts of botched birth passed my mind, I wanted to blame the medical practitioners at Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital who attended me but I finally gave all to God. Thanks to the father of my child who is always by my side, he is one in a million,” says Kemmonye, beaming at her husband, who is busy playing with their child.

“We were told there is no cure and that our boy might never walk,” she continues.

Fortunately, with the assistance of the excellent Thuso Rehabilitation Centre, the couple were able to come to terms with their child’s condition.

“We found ourselves and it boosted our confidence – seeing this, our families eventually accepted us,” says Kemmonye.

Without taking his eyes off his son, Moyambo continues the narrative, saying, “I accepted our angel and vowed to give him all my spare time just to look after him. He is our gift and I am proud of him because he fights every day to flex his limbs.

“Although he cannot talk or walk, he is happy, he laughs and he knows us. Love, unity and acceptance have taken us this far!”

At a time when most kids his age are running about and exploring, Botsile is clearly eager to do the same, rapidly moving his legs in the air in an apparent attempt at walking.

It is an action that delights his father, who regards it as a sign of progress – and hope.

Although there is a good chance Botsile will never be able to walk freely, his parents are confident that by the age of ten, he could be walking.

“Even though he cannot do other things it is imperative to interact with him like a normal child because it also rehabilitates him,” explains Moyambo, adding that Botsile cannot chew and survives on soft foods.

Despite their unwavering optimism, the couple admit that as their son grows, so to do the challenges of looking after him.

Their biggest problem at the moment is the lack of specialist equipment available to enhance Botsile’s sitting posture, adding that they desperately need a special chair to help move and carry him around.