Wheels get boy going

2016-03-29 06:00
The office of the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town has donated a wheelchair to Afron Hendricks, who was born with cerebral palsy. Here are (from left): Kim Hendricks, Tyrell Hendricks, Tyrese Hendricks, Suzette Little; (front:) Lennox Hendricks, Rylee Hendricks and Afron Hendricks.  PHOTO: Earl Haupt

The office of the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town has donated a wheelchair to Afron Hendricks, who was born with cerebral palsy. Here are (from left): Kim Hendricks, Tyrell Hendricks, Tyrese Hendricks, Suzette Little; (front:) Lennox Hendricks, Rylee Hendricks and Afron Hendricks. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Afron Hendricks was born in 2009 with cerebral palsy, which resulted in him having a lack of motor skills.

Now six years old, Afron was the proud recipient of his first wheelchair at his Bridgetown home last Thursday after his parents, Tyrell and Kim Hendricks, approached mayor Patricia de Lille’s office.

“Afron was born with cerebral palsy [due to] a lack of oxygen to his brain at birth and because his mother is a Type-1 diabetic. That was mainly the reason why Afron was struggling, because at birth his mother went into labour with low sugar, there was a lack of oxygen that went to his brain and at that time it affected his motor senses.

“So at the moment he is unable to walk or use his left side correctly, but with motivation and progression, he is actually trying to use his limbs better now and making them stronger,” says Tyrell.

Afron, who attends the Eros School for children with cerebral palsy in Bridgetown, is scheduled to undergo a medical procedure which will see doctors lengthen his hamstrings as well as operate on his calves in a bid to strengthen them.

“He is definitely going for an operation as soon as we get an available operation date to lengthen his hamstrings. This will also make him more relaxed, because at this moment his hamstrings are too short, which means that he has to try and stand on his toes and not have any balance,” adds Tyrell.

The wheelchair handover, done by ward councillor Suzette Little on De Lille’s behalf, is part of an ongoing mayoral project in which the mayor donates wheelchairs and walkers to those in dire need of help.

Tyrell says he realised he could approach the mayor’s office after a brief discussion with a colleague at work.

“We then got hold of our councillor, which made everything possible today that Afron has a wheelchair with us. It took us less than a month.”

Little says the project is implemented on a “first come, first serve” basis and that those who need help should approach the mayor’s office directly with a written request detailing their need and the reason for their need.

“I know that the mayor still has a few [wheelchairs] left. The mayor’s office receives regular donations from the Taiwanese government and an organisation in Taiwan. If you put your name in now and it is on the list, then the chances are good that you may receive one,” says Little.

An ecstatic Afron was lost for words, but was grateful for the donation, which will not just make his life easier, but the lives of his parents and three brothers as well.
“Now he is going to be at table length,” said a smiling Tyrell.
“He will be able to butter his own bread and he will be able to use his left side more often, because now we are doing everything for him.
“He is going to be at table height and also be able to wheel himself to the bathroom, because at the moment, he was just lying or sitting in the room or crawling, but he cannot crawl properly because of the short hamstrings he has. Now he is able to move by himself.
“I am just very ecstatic; I can’t even express myself anymore,” said Tyrell.

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