Help and hope for Denisa
At almost 10 years of age, a girl from the village of Corbasca, in the county of Bacău, diagnosed with spastic diplegia, can only move around in the wheelchair that her mother pushes
At almost 10 years of age, a girl from the village of Corbasca, in the county of Bacău, diagnosed with spastic diplegia, can only move around in the wheelchair that her mother pushes. She cannot walk, and her misfortune is furthered by other life-harrowing ailments, including epilepsy.
Between crisis and hope
Denisa’s face lightens up when mother picks her up and proudly shows her off.
“Before I had her, I dreamt that she’d be a girl. Pretty, as she is now”, says the woman lovingly, while looking at her child whom she seats down in a duvet-lined wheelchair.
“The doctor said that she’d live two weeks and then die. So, I took her home and gave her the Holy Communion. And then she started to eat. I’d feed her with a syringe, and then she’d fall asleep. I got her accustomed to a bite at a time, and now she chews on her own.”
The girl, wearing a pink hair bow and matching trousers printed with flowers and butterflies, will turn 10 this coming winter. But because of her illnesses, she cannot walk and talk like her peers, yet she is lively and laughful.
“She plays with her hands -they are her toy. And we can’t go without the TV”, explains the mother.
Mother watches over
Denisa has two full- and six half-siblings – 3 maternal sisters and 3 paternal brothers. The half-siblings have already moved out and some even have children.
The family faces much destitution: the mother is Denisa’s personal assistant. For this, with support from the professionals in the UNICEF community teams, she managed to obtain supporting documents attesting Denisa’s illnesses. The father is a day labourer, but every now and then goes to work abroad on construction sites. At such times, all the burden falls on the woman’s shoulders, who shares her time between household chores, the two underaged boys and the care she must give to Denisa.
“Everybody blames me and asks why am I not giving her away? But I won’t give her; should I die with her hanging on to me, and still I wouldn’t give her away. Only if I get sick and die… then I don’t know who would take care of her.”
With no birth issues, nobody foresaw the adversity that was to befall the family. But when 3- month-old, Denisa started having epileptic seizures. Then, “at 4, she had hepatitis A; I took her to Iasi and brought her back in a pram”, recounts the woman. From that moment on, the mother stayed on to watch the girl over.
“The day when my girl got ill, was the most difficult of my life.”
She’d sit like a bibelot
“She had a slightly crooked leg. She didn’t stand, she couldn’t roll over on one side, she had no intention of getting off the crib or grasping however feebly with her hand. She’d sit like a bibelot. Wherever I’d put her, she wouldn’t move at all.” This was Denisa’s state before starting therapy.
With the help of the mobile team that visited her home twice a month and the therapy she received at a centre in Bacău, positive outcomes showed up soon: the girl was ever more active, and seizures became less frequent. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, the therapy sessions were postponed and Denisa relapsed.
“They told me to have hope, that she would walk, but the process would be difficult. I believe that she will never walk, or if she will, who knows how. Obviously, only God knows” says the mother.
Same as in the case of other disabled children, Denisa’s progress depends on the equipment, treatment and medical services she can access. Many vulnerable families, such as Denisa’s, fight for their children’s future.
And they are not alone. In the UNICEF project “Community Services for Children”, community teams comprising a social worker, a community nurse and a school counsellor provide support and access to much needed medical, social and educational services to children from vulnerable families.
You too can help. Text now “COPIL” at 8864 free of charge and give 4 euros every month. Thank you!