ALTHOUGH five-year-old Alijah LaRose faces enormous life-threatening medical challenges daily and the emotional trauma of learning that a wanted man killed his police father, the West Coast Berbician remains “a fighter.”“Since as a baby he would have difficulties doing things and it is only recently when we had the latest MRI that we were told it’s a problem with his brain,” his mother Adecia Johnson explained.
Alijah does not permit his brain-related ailment to come between his enormous quests for knowledge; ask him to name Guyana’s President or Prime Minister and many of their Cabinet colleagues and he will shout the correct answer.
Alijah cannot stand or walk and even though he has recently managed to colour, he still cannot write. He moves around by creeping, which makes it difficult for him to play with other children.
He was once a pupil of the No. 5 Village Primary School, which is just across the road from his home, but due to several difficulties there, his mother was forced to transfer him to the Sapodilla School of Excellence, a private school at Hopetown a few villages away.
Johnson describes him as a type of Rock of Gibraltar to the family. She admits though that the stabbing death of his father Leonard LaRose in May this year “was particularly hard on him.”
Sergeant LaRose was killed attempting to arrest a wanted man in the North West District. Alijah’s maternal grandmother, Hannah Fraser, a professional nurse, said the family first realised something was wrong with Alijah when at three-months-old he could not balance his head. He was able to do so until the eighth month.
“By eight months he couldn’t do many of the things we look for in children. He did them way after. So we knew something was wrong, but we weren’t sure what. Now he does things, but long after most children. He takes a while, but we have seen improvements. On Saturday for the first time he was able to stand by himself,” Fraser said.
The child’s condition is a financial drain on the family, especially since his mom is now a single parent; she also has sole responsibility for taking care of the rest of the household.
Deepening her financial troubles, Alijah must have constant changes of clothing for home and school, because of his condition and this too is a steep mountain for his mother to climb. Then there are the monthly expenses for critical medical supplies Alijah needs.
The Ministry of Social Protection gave Alijah a wheelchair to make life a little easier for him. According to his grandparents, they are happy for the gesture, as it would allow his family to take him around easier. Alijah was a premature baby, so from birth he needed extra care as a baby. If you want to help you can contact the family on telephone number 675-3322. (Ministry of Social Protection)