Full Circle

Cynthia Lakay is a former patient of St. Joseph’s and she never thought she would be visiting her son, Angelo, at the very same facility she once called home. Suffering from TB of the spine, Cynthia started treatment in 2001 for a year and attended St. Joseph’s Special School. Today she leads an independent life, enrolled for a business administration diploma and cares for her son.

Angelo was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital after an accident and later referred to St. Joseph’s. He was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, after minor trauma to his spine. Transverse myelitis is a condition in which a section of the spinal cord becomes inflamed. During an inflammatory response the myelin, or protective fatty coating on nerve cells, is damaged or destroyed, resulting in weakness or paralysis, pain, and sensory dysfunction. Autonomic, or involuntary activities such as breathing, digestion, heartbeat and reflexes can also be affected. Part of Angelo’s thoracic spine (middle of the spinal cord) was affected and resulted in paralysis of part of his trunk and legs, slight weakness in his upper limbs and has affected his bowel and bladder function.

On admission he was unable to sit without support and arrived in a buggy mobility device, which provided maximum support. He received regular Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy to address his areas of weakness. His balance while sitting improved and he progressed to a self-propelling wheelchair and is now able to sit at a table, and engage in fine motor activities.

“Angelo is a charismatic and charming young man who is motivated to get better. His positive energy is contagious and is definitely his biggest asset in overcoming his physical limitations “said occupational therapist Asgeree Dalvie who treated him at the time.