Shebena Belle, a fifteen year old Bladen Hall Multilateral third former, who was born with club feet that have prevented her from walking properly will soon realise her dream of being able to walk normally again thanks to the intervention of Dr Slater Jeffrey, an overseas-based Guyanese
“One year ago I had a heart transplant so I have somebody else’s heart in me. I then decided to start a campaign so that something is done for this child and therefore I mobilised a team of persons to help and was directed to the HERO mission,” Dr Jeffrey was quoted as saying
Giving an insight into the project, Dr Jeffrey disclosed that in 2016 he was in Guyana on a mission to source pigeon peas seeds and during a visit to Bare Root, he met Shebena. He decided to help Shebena as he recognised that he himself is privileged to be alive and therefore wanted to contribute to someone else’s life in an equally meaningful way, according to a Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) release.
Dr Jeffrey, the Orthropaedric (bone specialist) surgeon and HERO Mission officials have met with the family of Shebena and have assured the family that regardless of what it takes, they are prepared and committed to ensuring that young Shebena would be able to benefit from the surgery which will take place in Guyana in March 2019, the release added.
According to the RDC release, the visiting surgeon will be Dr Claude B. Scott and the local surgeon would be Dr A. Watson who is the Orthropaedric surgeon at GPHC. It was pointed out that for Shebena to have the surgery done successfully, a number of specialised tools would be needed and Dr Jeffrey said that he and the team have already secured the equipment, which includes a CR machine which costs some US$40,000.
Expressing confidence that Shebena would walk normally after the surgery, the visiting US based Guyanese said that the team of doctors who would be working on Shebena are experts who have had a very long history of performing similar surgeries successfully.
Dr Jeffrey declared that a team of persons would be here in Guyana to ensure that the surgery is completed and noted that the equipment procured would be donated to the GPHC, thus making it easy for other persons plagued with similar challenges to benefit from corrective surgery. 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.
It was confirmed that the President of the Guyana Association of Georgia was joining the list of donors and has given all assurance that the association stands in solidarity with the Belle family as they unified their efforts in correcting the disability that Shebena has encountered since birth, the release noted.
The mother of the child, Abena Belle, said that she is very relieved with the assistance being given. She singled out her husband, the father of Shebena, who she said played an exceptional role, noting that many times since her birth he has literally carried his daughter in his hands or on his back and he has given her his wholehearted moral support.
Meanwhile, an evidently happy Shebena said that although the disability affects her to some extent she is looking forward to the prospect of being able walk normally for the first time in her life.
“I don’t see myself being different from them because I do everything that they do so I know that my feet are somewhat different but I don’t allow it to affect me in any way,” she said. “I am very thankful right now and I would like to say that you all don’t have an idea of how much you folks have touched me as I feel so overwhelmed right now as this is a dream come through and I pray that God will bless each one of you,” a very emotional Shebena was quoted as saying in expressing her thanks to Dr Jeffrey.