Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sickle cell sets us on a new quest

When children come to the Happy House they are guaranteed much more than a safe and loving home. Whatever problem or difficulty life might throw up, they can be sure of getting whatsoever it is they need to help them grow and flourish and to give them the best outlook for a healthy, happy, fulfilling life. This is where Jonathan's story starts:

 When, in 2011, her husband was brutally murdered, grieving mum Kasichana, was left to raise a family of 10 children on her own.
With her newborn twins, just 18 days old, Kasichana, terrified a land dispute had prompted the violence in which her husband was clubbed to death, fled her home, taking her children with her. Her refuge was with her brother on his meagre homestead where he already struggles to feed his own large family.

The demands of two young babies, Jonathan and James, plus caring for her five older children, aged three to 16, and three teenage step-children from her husband's former marriage, made it impossible for her get work.
And, as for millions in the underdeveloped world, Kasichana, 36, knew that the stark reality of unemployment  would mean one thing for her children- hunger.
If she couldn’t work, they couldn’t eat.
On the brink of despair she sought help and placed her beautiful twin boys into care. They joined our family at the Happy House Children’s Home in July 2011. The Happy House, currently home to 59 orphaned,abandoned, abused or neglected children, was opened by Blackpool-based charity Children of Watamu in March 2010, and provides exemplary care and education for its family.
Jonathan and James born on May 13, 2011, are now getting the best start in life with us while their mum, knowing they are in safe and loving hands, has an opportunity to do her best to support the rest of her extensive brood.
October 2012:
After an initial reluctance to put any weight on his feet Jonathan  was happily walking, with and without a walker, speed crawling, and appearing to do well, until early last month when he became distressed when trying to walk and displayed symptoms of pain in his legs. Medical investigations and tests have now revealed he has sickle cell disease, and as he and James are identical twins, James is now being tested.
Sickle cell is something entirely new to us at the Happy House but we are determined that Jonathan, and his brother if need be, will get the very best treatment we can find, regardless of cost.
They are very special, much loved, members of our family - one of our three sets of twin boys- and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they have the best quality of life.
We have received useful information and support from Isabel Adams, a specialist nurse, in the children's sickle cell unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital and are in touch with other UK sickle cell organisations.
We have an excellent paediatrician in Malindi who has already put a treatment regime in place, but we want to ensure that what Jonathan gets is the most advanced available and if it is not available there then we will try to source it here and get it out to him. We also need to ensure that our housemums are trained to recognise and deal with a sickle cell crisis as soon as it occurs.
Please can you help?
Every visit to the doctor, every medical procedure and all medicines must to be paid for in Kenya.
Jonathan, and most probably James, will need medical support and medication for the rest of their lives. 
Please can you help-us to meet these costs, or help by providing advice or support?
Contact: Elizabeth Gomm (Voluntary UK coordinator), Children of Watamu, 6 Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS. Tel: 07905 130 589 or email: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net