15-y-o with disability to receive corrective surgery with help from US based Guyanese

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…US40,000 equipment to be donated to GPHC to help others with same problems

Shebena Belle’s feet

The dreams of a mother seeing her daughter walking normally might soon be realised following the substantial intervention made by a US based Guyanese through a chapter in Georgia.

Overseas based Guyanese Dr Slater Jeffery has stepped forward to champion the cause of fifteen-year-old Shebena Belle who was born with a disability that has prevented her from walking properly.

Giving an insight into the project, Dr Jeffery disclosed that in 2016 he was visiting Guyana on a mission of securing pigeon peas seeds.

He said that it was during his visit to Bare Root, while visiting a farm that he had an accidental meeting with Shebena.

He went on to note that after taking a major surgery, which is a heart transplant, he decided this year to make a meaningful contribution to the life of Shebena Belle as he recognised that he is privileged to be alive and therefore wanted to contribute to someone’s life in an equally meaningful way.

Dr Jeffery said that since arriving in Guyana he and the family of Belle have met several times with both the Orthropaedic (bone specialist) surgeon and HERO Mission officials as they decided how the surgery would be done.

Region 4 Regional Chairman Genevieve Allen, Shebena Belle, Dr Slater Jeffery, her brother, mother and Ernest Elliot

He disclosed that the visiting surgeon is Dr Claude B. Scott, noting that the local surgeon would be Dr A. Watson who is the Orthropaedic surgeon at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)

It was pointed out that for Shebana to have the surgery done successfully a number of specialised tools would be needed and Dr Jeffery said that he and the team have already secured the equipment, which includes a CR machine which costs some 40,000 USD.

Dr Jeffery assured the family that regardless of what it takes he is prepared and committed in ensuring that young Shebena would be able to benefit from the surgery.

He revealed that the Bladen Hall Multilateral third former was assured that the surgery would be done in Guyana and would take place in March 2019.

He said that joining the list of donors was the Guyana Association of Georgia President, assuring him that the association stands in solidarity with the family as they unified their efforts in correcting the disability that Shebena has encountered since birth.

Dr Jeffery declared that a team of persons would be here in Guyana to ensure that the surgery is completed, adding that they are currently working in securing the expensive but needed equipment.

He noted that the equipment would be donated to the GPHC, thus making it easy for other persons plagued with similar challenges to have same surgically corrected.

He said that he is happy that they would be giving the machine to the hospital, noting that after visiting the hospital he was made aware that at least 100 persons are in need of similar surgeries. “When I visited the hospital I saw at least 100 persons who are in need of the surgery so the good thing is that the machine would not only service Shebena but a number of other persons would benefit similarly from this,” he said.

Expressing confidence that Shebana would walk normally after the surgery, the visiting US based Guyanese said that the team of doctors that would be working on Shebana are experts who have had a very long history of performing such successful surgeries.

Regional Chairman Genevieve Allen in congratulating Dr Jeffery, in a statement, hailed his contribution as timely, appropriate and a testimony of the commitment to community development.

She appealed for other US based Guyanese in the diaspora to give back in their own way, stressing that it is critically important as it augurs well for national and holistic development.

The home where Shebena and her family reside

Mother of the child, Abena Belle said that she is very relieved with the assistance being given.

She singled out her husband and father of Shebana who she said played an exceptional role, noting that many times from birth he has literally carried his daughter in his hands or on his back as he has supported her wholeheartedly. “It is the support and help of the father that has kept us going since her birth because he refuses to give up and gives Shebena the support she needs,” the mother said.

Meanwhile, an evidently happy Shebana said that while the disability affects her to some extent she is more interested in the prospects of walking normally for the first time in her life.

She said that her greatest challenge is being able to traverse a number of stairways, noting that this is very difficult especially during her days at school.

The intelligent young lady noted that while she tries to cope with the disability, she never encountered discrimination because her colleagues at school recognise that despite her physical disability her performance academically is at a high standard.

A very emotional Shebena in expressing her thanks to Dr Jeffrey was moved to tears stating that the thought of being able to walk properly for the first time in her life has certainly made her every emotional.

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