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  • 'I Felt Helpless': Mom Finds Hope For Son's Cerebral Palsy Through An Organization's Funding

    “Upon learning about his situation, I felt helpless. It was painful and we do not know where to get the funds for his therapy,”
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
'I Felt Helpless': Mom Finds Hope For Son's Cerebral Palsy Through An Organization's Funding
PHOTO BY /ICRC.ORG/PH
  • When your child is diagnosed with a motor disorder that will require a lifetime of caring, it is easy to lose hope. Thirty-eight-year-old Analyn Repdos felt exactly that when her son JP was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) at one year and five months. 

    “Upon learning about his situation, I felt helpless. It was painful and we do not know where to get the funds for his therapy,” she says. 

    What is cerebral palsy?

    The term ‘cerebral’ refers to the brain and the word ‘palsy’ refers to problems with body movement. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy or CP is one of the most common causes of motor disabilities in childhood. 

    The Center adds that, worldwide, there is a “prevalence estimates of CP ranging from one to nearly four per 1,000 live births or per 1,000 children,’ especially those who were born preterm or with low birth weights. 

    Signs that a child has CP only appears months or even years after birth, according to Healthline, often between three to four years old. 

    The early and common signs of the disorder are any of the following, according to the same Healthline site. 

    - delays in motor skill milestones like rolling over, sitting up on their or or crawling 

    - variations in muscle tone, which may be ‘too floppy’ like that of a rag doll or too stiff

    - delays in speech

    - muscle spasticity or tightness 

    - lack of motor coordination

    - tremors or involuntary movements

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    - drooling and problems with swallowing

    - difficulty walking

    - problems related to the brain such as seizures, intellectual disabilities, and even blindness

    PHOTO courtesy of /ICRC.ORG/PH

    Hope for the disabled

    While news that one’s child has a motor disorder can be disheartening, hope is not lost. Depending on the level of diagnosis (there are five levels and the higher the level the bigger the chances of one’s decrease in mobility) a child’s mobility can still be improved with early intervention, specifically physical therapy. 

    However, physical therapy doesn’t come cheap with sessions costing anywhere between Php400 to Php1,500 depending on the kind of exercise and equipment needed.  

    Therapy cost was, in fact, was one of Analyn’s biggest concerns. “[Looking for funds] was a problem that we initially did not know if we could surpass. But we gathered all the resources that we could get to improve my child’s condition,” she says. 

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    As it is, JP’s bills have been piling up, shares Analyn. Good thing she has her husband, in-laws, and youngest sibling pooling their resources to help lessen both the physical and financial challenges brought about by JP’s condition. 

    “My youngest sibling, who has a decent job, took care of most of the piled-up bills in the hospital. He even sold his car in order to pay for my son’s expenses, and I find it very touching that he never bothered to ask us to pay him back.” 

    She adds, “My family understood the difficult situation we are in and I couldn’t be more thankful, most especially to my husband who is my partner since the beginning. He and his parents gave their all-out support.”

    Organizations extend much-needed help

    Even with all members of the family helping, resources were still stretched for the Repdos family. Fortunately, Analyn’s son got much needed help through the Davao Jubilee Foundation (DJF), a non-profit in Mindanao supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 

    Through DJF and ICRC’s partnership, persons with disabilities like JP are able to get access to unconditional cash grants and high-quality physical rehabilitation. 

    Analyn persevered commuting with her son to the therapy center just to get the free and high-quality service they offer.  

    “Sometimes, when we ride a jeep to go to JP’s therapy, people stare at him from head to foot. It pains me as a mother. I feel that he is being judged. 

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    “But at the end of the day, I keep a positive attitude and remind myself not to get bothered,” she shares.

    With regular therapy, JP was able to walk at four year old, less than three years since he was diagnosed. “I remember how happy I was,” recalls Analyn.  

    “He has greatly improved now compared to his condition before.” Today, JP’s improved mobility has allowed him to attend school.  

    He is currently enrolled in a school for special children, says Analyn. 

    “I am proud that JP is striving, and it gives me more hope. He is always excited for his online class because he often looks for his teacher, Lucy.”

    Empowering persons with disabilities

    It is Analyn’s hope that JP will continue to improve but for now she finds great comfort in the support of her family as well as in knowing that there are organizations like DJF and ICRC that have very specialized services for people with disabilities like JP. 

    Apart from physical therapy, ICRC in particular, helps empower persons with disabilities by providing them with prosthetics as well as facilitating programs that will allow them to be economically independent such as setting up their own business and providing them with vocational training. 

    Ana admits that there were moments when she questioned God for giving them their trials especially since they are not financially well-off, however all that had changed today. 

    “I keep my faith strong because I will do everything for my son,” she says. “What relieves me is the fact that I am not alone in this fight,” she concludes.  Learn more about ICRC at www.icrc.org/ph or at facebook.com/ICRCph.

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