Monday, June 29, 2009

Thrilling and amazing!

Great, great day today!
I saw my little friend Courtney Ellerbeck - the nine-year-old kiddie left paraplegic by a hijacker who shot her mom's pregnant stomach two months before she was due to be born - actually walk.
I have followed Courtney's story since the day she was born. And like many other people who have only the best of wishes for this little blonde poppet dealt such a raw deal in life, I prayed I would get to see her walk when she first started wishing for the chance because a new type of calliper that had been developed made it a real possibility.
Last week the parts arrived from America after many glitches and delays and customs hold-ups. Then on Wednesday she heard that she could go for a fitting. But her great granny, who lives with her family, died that same morning putting a very big damper on what would have been one of the most exciting days of her young life.
It was so sad, because her great granny had been anxiously waiting to see Courtney walk, but she didn't quite make it.
On Saturday Courtney finally got the callipers - fitted, finished and completely sorted. Benny the orthotist told her to start off by wearing them for 10 minutes each day and practice her walking. But noooooooooooo. Courtney allowed the giant supports to be taken off her only when she went to bed.
On Sunday she wore them to church. Mike the musician gave her a drum roll and everybody clapped. She stood through the entire service, refusing to sit.
I saw her today and she was beyond proud as she walked across her backyard. She showed me how she can winch herself upward in a little jump move. She swung her paralysed legs and kicked a ball. It was a magic moment.
PicturesEditor and I asked her if we could get pictures of the calipers without her tracksuit pants covering them. At first she declined and got quite tearful about this, viewing it as a dent in her dignity. So we explained that this was more for information purposes and not for actual publication, and the leggings she had on underneath meant that her underwear would not be exposed and she quickly cheered up.
"Aunty Jozi, if I let you see my calipers, will you let me play with your long hair please?" she asked.
How could I refuse? So I spent some time sitting on the floor while she happily brushed my hair and told me how now that she has got the walking thing right, she plans to become a ballerina!
Go Courtney!

PS The news wires of the world are still buzzing with ongoing revelations following the the death of the king of pop. Michael Jackson - RIP. Loved your concert in Jozi back in the day! The tank on stage amid bewildered, tearful children was a tad OTT here in Gangsta's Paradise, but otherwise it was a totally amazing life highlight. Kiddy fiddler allegations, chemical addictions and never-ever-ask-for-this-procedure-unless-you-truly-want-your-face-to-look-like-melted-plastic surgeries aside, the guy was a talent ahead of his time and his death is incredibly sad and came much too soon. Let's hope Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket will have a more normal life.

1 comment:

  1. And now there's rumours that he faked his death in order to skip on his debt!

    Yay for Courtney! That is so very awesome.