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Feb 14, 2002

10-year-old to receive life-changing medical care

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His birth defect has not allowed him to fully participate in school activities or even play with friends. But Noel Young of Amara Avenue in Belize City has reasons to celebrate. Later this month, he will be leaving the country to receive medical care that will allow him for the very first time to do the things he has always wanted to do. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Ten-year-old Noel young has had a difficult start in life. The Standard Three student of Queen Square Anglican School, was born with his right leg missing. Since that time, Young has managed to get around with the use of a crutch. Unfortunately, late last year, Young was bedridden after he fell and broke his left leg.

Lisa Forbes, Mother

“He spent like a month and change in the hospital. Then he came and home and spent another month and change, where we had to lift him, cause he was cast from his foot bottom to around his waist. So we had to take him wherever he wanted to go, lift him up to put a bedpan, get a urinal, everything. The whole family had to work tremendously to keep up with him.

Young did not stay confined to the wheel chair for long. Following his doctor’s orders, Lisa Forbes tried to get her boy to walk again. It took substantial effort for this mother and son team, but with the help of their friends, over the past few weeks Young has been making remarkable progress.

Lisa Forbes

I encouraged him and when he started to go to school, his friends encouraged him and his teachers. So eventually in January, he took it one step at a time and then he start walking. He start walking on two crutches first, and about a couple weeks ago I saw him running around on just one.”

For the ten years, Young has had to live with his disability and while he’s not been in much physical pain, it has not been easy trying to be like the other kids on the block.

Noel Young, 10 years old

I no born with two foot, I grow up using a crutch. I like the crutch, but sometimes I don’t like when people tease me cause I feel bad that I don’t got two foot and they have two foot and they are teasing me who have one.”

But despite the challenges he’s had at such a young age, Young has touched the hearts of many who can’t help but admire his energetic spirit. Friends of Paediatrics is one humanitarian group that has heard of Noel’s plight and has been working hard with the help of concerned individuals and businesses to see if they can get him to walk on both legs.

Dr. Egbert Grinage, Founder, Friends of Paediatrics

“A family friend and a mutual friend, Mr. Tony Neilson, a K.H.M.H. engineer from the Netherlands approached me and said, could you get somebody to help him since you do this kind of things with your organisation Friends of Paediatrics? What we did, was we sat right here, went on the Internet, went to the Shriner’s website downloaded some of the application forms, filled them out and posted them to four Shriner’s hospitals.”

Founder of Friends of Paediatrics Dr. Egbert Grinage says it did not take long before Tampa Shriner’s Hospital for Children positively responded to their request.

Dr. Egbert Grinage

“The Tampa one was more embracing, they said right off the bat that they would give him a prosthesis and physical therapy and he will stay over there for six to eight weeks.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Are you looking forward to getting rid of that crutch?”

Noel Young

“Yes, ma’am.”

Young is scheduled to leave the country on February twentieth for his life changing operation.

Dr. Egbert Grinage

“It’s rewarding already even though he hasn’t gone. It’s looking at him and how bright he is, he’s a normal child except for this birth defect that he has. It’s already rewarding to me to see that when he comes back I know that he will be able to walk. People with prosthesis have been able to walk and run and I think he will fit in socially. At that age children can be so cruel, so to speak, so I think Noel will come back…it’s something that will change his life, and I can see that happening for him already.”

Forbes, who will be accompanying her son to the United States, says she cannot wait for the day to see her son walk on two legs.

Lisa Forbes

I’m very happy that he’s going to be able to walk on both legs. It will be very good for the leg that was broken, it will take a lot of strain off of it.”

The road ahead will still have challenges for this ten-year old, but all Noel Young can think about is the day when he will be able to play basketball and football with his friends. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

Since Friends of Paediatrics was established in 1996, the organisation has helped approximately fifteen children receive medical treatment abroad. According to Dr. Grinage, they have established a working relationship with the International Children Hospital of Virginia. That institution has promised to take between seven to ten children a year to receive free surgeries.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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