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January 10, 2014
Former surgical patients return to say thanks to WPP

Children from all over the world have the World Paediatric Project (WPP) to thank for the improved quality of their lives.{{more}}

The project sends out approximately 50 teams per year to all its member countries, where a variety of surgeries are carried out, free of cost.

The teams have been coming to St Vincent and the Grenadines since 2002, and to date, over 575 children have had surgeries performed here, by the team. Others have had their surgeries performed in the United States.

Vincentian children who benefited from the project, along with their parents, had the opportunity to express their heartfelt thanks to the chief executive officer of WPP Susan Rickman on Wednesday.

Many of the persons who had surgeries spoke of being scared to be a part of the project, but said they are now thankful that they had their various medical issues corrected.

Oswald Kennedy is one such person.

Kennedy, who found out that he had scoliosis at age 15, underwent corrective spinal surgery in 2012, and has no regrets.

“I used to encounter frequent back pain,” he said, while explaining that he had gone to see a doctor for another medical issue when they noticed that he had scoliosis.

The tall young man stated that he spoke with Eastern Caribbean Representative for WPP Jacqueline Browne-King, who told him about the project and the opportunity to correct his scoliosis, free of cost.

“I had no idea that it was something really serious. They explained that I had scoliosis and what it was about and so on. I was terrified. I am not a person who likes to go to the doctor. They told me it was a possibility that as the years progress, it might get worse and that I might have to consider surgery. I knew then my parents would not be able to afford surgery,” Kennedy said.

Although being apprehensive at first, Kennedy is happy that he had his surgery and said that he has no physical limitations.

“Before, I had frequent back pain. Now…everything is fine. No more pain and I’m very thankful and grateful for all the persons on the whole entire World Paediatric Project and all the persons who play an active role in the project that help persons like myself,” he said.

Jeshonne Edwards also had corrective surgery for her scoliosis in 2013.

Edwards had the audience laughing, as she told her tale of her journey into the operating theatre. It was an extremely moving moment when she declared that she felt “like a fighter” for overcoming her painful experience.

“That was so painful. The most pain I have ever felt in my life,” she said, referring to her surgery. “Presently, when I look back at what I have come through, I feel like a fighter. I used to have negative feelings and say ‘I wish I didn’t do this’, but then I say ‘no, think on the bright side’ and now, here I am”.

King, the Eastern Caribbean representative for WPP, explained to persons the importance of returning to follow up, even after their surgery is completed.

“We have to be able to find all of our children. We have to know who has gone to university…, who is married, who has a child, so that we can send the pictures, so that they can see how they helped to change the life of our children, how they help to make it better, how they have improved their condition based on what was done,” she said.(BK)