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Ten-year-old defies doctors’ prediction

Courage beyond his years
Published: 
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Against the Odds
Seanelle de Freitas and her son, Ezekiel Letren, at Ato Boldon Recreation Park, Bourg Mulatresse, Lower Santa Cruz. PHOTO: MICHEAL RAMSINGH

Defying the odds of death is something that we hardly see on a daily basis but for ten-year-old Ezekiel Corlando Letren, it’s a daily battle. His battle started during his mother’s pregnancy as doctors had already labelled Ezekiel dead before he came into this world.

Ezekiel’s mother, Seanelle de Freitas, said an ultrasound was performed when she visited her doctor and she got the most traumatic news that her baby may not survive. “All they said is that something is not right. I was in tears. This was my first baby, I made so much plans and at eight months when I am ready to receive him in the world this happened,” she recalled.

Doctors saw some abnormality around the foetus and from the signs it was not good. Seanelle told the GML Enterprise Desk from the results she saw a rocky road ahead but she never fully believed the doctors. 

Within weeks, Ezekiel came into the world at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. He looked like any normal child. However, after extensive tests, Seanelle was told her son’s brain and spine were not developed properly. Seanelle explained: “From the time Ezekiel was born, I literally lived in the hospital as a number of procedures and surgeries had to be done.

“Doctors did corrective spinal surgery which allows Ezekiel to be able to sit up today.” Doctors also placed a shunt in his head to drain fluid that was gathering around his brain. Since all his procedures, Ezekiel has been doing great and has defied his doctors’ predictions and is excelling like any other child.

The only thing that has hampered Ezekiel is that he will never be able to walk. Seanelle says Ezekiel is normal despite that and he has a love for technology, archery and swimming. Ten years old now, Ezekiel attends the Charis Works Christian Academy in Tacarigua. He is in Standard Two and is a Grade B student and is excelling in ways doctors can’t explain.

His mother said Ezekiel had grown into a child that liked challenges and if he thoughts he could do something he would do it. 

“Ezekiel is above normal when it comes to cellphones, tablets and computers. It’s like he is a genius,” she added. Already Ezekiel has charted his course for the future by wanting to go to Queen’s Royal College then to university. He has a bubbly personality and was enthusiastic about speaking to the GML Enterprise Desk.

The first thing Ezekiel told us was that he had a plan. “I want to make a difference in the world by doing this I want to become a firefighter,” he said. Knowing his condition, Ezekiel made it clear he would be the truck driver and would always make sure his team reached on time to extinguish any fire.

Never getting to use his legs, Ezekiel has found a new way to use them by swimming. 

“I enjoy swimming. At first it was a little scary but when I got the hang of it I want to hit the water every day. Also I have been doing archery which I intend to compete in very soon.

“I also like to fly drones and I am always on the Internet looking for a new gadget,” he said

With doctors’ predictions that he will never be able to walk, Ezekiel has other plans and knows that one day he will be able to stand and walk. He said that would not be the first and last time that Trinidad and Tobago would hear from him.

“I want all the children in Trinidad and Tobago like me to know that all things are possible once you put your mind to it,” Ezekiel said. With his ambitions already high, we look forward to what the world has in store for Ezekiel.