July 24, 2012
Helping Hands Centre honours Chequana Gilkes

In recognition of her determination and academic excellence over the years, 16-year-old Chequana Gilkes was on Saturday, July 14 presented with a plaque from the Helping Hands Centre (HHC) in New Montrose.{{more}}

Gilkes, a former student of the centre, suffers from Spinal Muscular Dystrophy, a rare muscle disease, which has left her unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair since she was two and a half years old.

President of the HHC Junior Bacchus said Gilkes joined the Centre at the age of three years old. After graduation, Gilkes went on to the Dorsetshire Hill Government School and was always first in her class from kindergarten to grade six.

At the Common Entrance Examination in 2006, Gilkes placed 106th overall and 56th for girls, earning her a place at the Girls’ High School. She placed first for her school and was the only one who was accepted at the Girls’ High School.

Throughout her years, Gilkes entered a number of competitions and won. In 2006, she was awarded top spot in an HIV/AIDS essay competition. She has always been involved in the Junior Calypso competition and entered many art competitions and placed in the top three positions on many occasions.

The young lass is also involved in dancing and singing and even gained a gold medal at the National Gospel Fest competition.

Gilkes is presently a member of the local Girl Guides Association.

The first year Science student at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, in her acceptance speech, thanked all the persons in her life who made her journey more comfortable and easy.

“They have implemented so much support and love into the dreams and aspirations of persons like myself … I just want to say thank you again to everybody,” Gilkes said.

On Friday, July 13, Members of the Lions Club South handed over a cheque for $3,000 to Gilkes to assist with her travel to Trinidad and Tobago to replace her back brace.

Chequana and her guardians will leave the state for Trinidad on August 5.(KW)