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Nine-year-old Abidah dreams of walking again
Since the age of two, Abidah McCarthy had only one wish—to be able to run and play like her friends. Today, seven years later, the wheelchair-bound Morvant child, still clings to this one wish and her mother, Onika, is pleading for help to make her child’s dream come true. On March 24, 2005, McCarthy was shot on the left side of her stomach when two gunmen opened fire on her family’s car. Her father Ricardo, 46, was wounded on his hands and feet in the incident.
McCarthy’s parents were on their way to the Unemployment Relief Programme office in Morvant to collect their salaries when they were ambushed by the gunmen. Onika was also pregnant at the time of the shooting. Two-year-old Abidah underwent surgery following the attack and doctors told Onika her child would not be able to walk since the bullet had injured her spine.
However, Onika remains confident that this grim prognosis will not come to pass. “She has spasms so the nerves are alive. She needs to see a neurologist to see what could be done. I do not want to give up hope on her. I will not. I am seeing development in her. She is bathing herself, she is doing everything a young lady is doing. She cleans her room, she helps me wash dishes. The only thing is she cannot walk,” Onika said.
She said for the past seven years McCarthy has been confined to her wheelchair but Onika believes with proper care and treatment her daughter will walk again. “She needs regular therapy,” said the mother of two. Abidah, she said, is an “A” student and will be entering standard two in September at the Charis Works Christian Academy, Orange Grove Road, Tacarigua.
In a recent interview with the T&T Guardian, Abidah admitted that her condition has taken a toll on her emotionally. “I am sad because I cannot walk, that is why I am sad. I could go out and play. I cannot feel from my waist down. I want to help mummy with chores, I want to climb a tree, ride a bicycle,” she said. Onika admits it is a daily challenge for her to care for her two daughters.
The family, she said, survives on social welfare grants. She said the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) apartment she lives in also adds to her difficulty in caring for Abidah. She explained she has to physically put her daughter in the bathroom to bathe her and now that she is growing, the space is limited. Onika said she has approached various ministries including the Ministry of the People for assistance in managing her expenses. She said her daughter needs a daily supply of diapers which she is forced to wear.
Anyone who may wish to assist Abidah can contact Onika at 223-9332.
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