Recalling Mobility Issues and Giving Thanks for the Present

Columnist Cazandra Campos-MacDonald reflects on the year her son required a wheelchair

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by Cazandra Campos-MacDonald |

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A recent news story caught my attention. The report highlighted local athletes who unfortunately sustained injuries while serving in the military. These amazing women and men play basketball, tennis, and several other sports while in wheelchairs.

Watching these phenomenal veterans play with determination and the physical prowess of professional athletes immediately took me back to a time I had forgotten.

My youngest son, Caeleb, is a junior in high school. In second grade, he spent an entire year in a wheelchair, as he couldn’t extend his right leg due to complications of hemophilia. It was a difficult time.

Caeleb went to physical therapy, and his therapist encouraged us to consider putting him in a summer adaptive wheelchair camp. I was hesitant. Part of me thought that if Caeleb attended this camp, I would give in and think my son would always be in a wheelchair. I didn’t want to acknowledge Caeleb’s plight by joining a group of others with mobility issues. However, Caeleb thought it sounded fun, so I took him daily for a couple weeks to play with other children who were wheelchair users.

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When we went to camp on the first day, my heart sank. Caeleb was in the minority, not because of his race or ethnicity, but because he had the possibility of improving and no longer needing a wheelchair. The other children did not. Ambulating with a wheelchair was their way of life.

My little boy was still adapting. Somehow my precocious son found ways to scoot around the house or hop from room to room when his pain levels were manageable. Deep down, I knew he would improve, so was it OK for him to take part in this camp?

I gave thanks to God every time I dropped my son off. I prayed that his doctor was correct in the hope that Caeleb would walk again.

The beauty of this camp was that every child shared a common denominator. Their diagnoses didn’t matter, and no one compared their illness to another; they simply wanted to play. Their conversations centered on “Ninjago” and Legos, not doctors and infusions.

As I continued to watch the Paralympians on the news, I thought about the little boys and girls in wheelchairs who didn’t have the strength to be fierce athletes. I fought back tears as I remembered the final day of camp when the children wheeled around cones in the obstacle race. It wasn’t about who won; it was about celebrating everyone who participated.

My son is one of the fortunate ones on the receiving end of life-changing therapy. Nevertheless, I refuse to take a day for granted that my son is walking, even with a limp.

I will continue to give thanks that, in my lifetime, I witnessed the change in the hemophilia landscape that is allowing many little boys and girls the chance to live without severe joint bleeds.

For all of the little boys and girls growing up into young men and women still in wheelchairs, I pray that they will also experience therapies that improve their quality of life.

When a memory of difficult times arises, take a moment to give thanks for the present.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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