May 2012 – In recent issues of HottywoodHelps.com’s Junior Hottywood Artist feature stories, recognition has been given to individual students, church choirs, and school classes. Continuing with the theme of recognizing the most note-worthy of unsung artists, this month’s kudos is extended to a special team – Dequan Kamari Wooten and this mother, Kirsten Williams.
Dequan, a 6th grade student at Waldon Woods Elementary School, like many children his age, enjoys spending time with his family. He has a passion for sports that is further exceeded by his desire to greet that passion head on, which is what makes his story such a remarkable one. Like many young boys Dequan dreams of one day making a name for himself in the sports arena. Unlike many with the same dream, the one thing that separates Dequan from other common dreamers is his Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy.
Born 3lbs 3oz and nine weeks before his expected delivery date, doctors diagnosed Dequan, one half of a set of twin boys, with spastic diplegia just before his first birthday and was expected never to walk. The news fell hard on his parents, more so when epileptic seizures complicated his condition even more. Refusing to accept the possibility of her son’s inability to walk, mother, Kristen immediately sought orthopedic treatment from the Georgetown University Hospital, Physical Medicine and Rehab Department and HSP Pediatric Center in an effort to propitiate Dequan’s desire for mobile independency. After receiving two major surgeries, he is now able to walk with the aid of leg braces.
Understanding the difficulty and frustration of not being able to play field sports with his peers, his school coach afforded him an opportunity to help coach the school’s [sports] team(s), broadening his knowledge [of sports] from a different angle. Kristen saw the joy in Dequan’s eyes from the support he received from his family, friends, school and doctors and continued her struggle to seek additional aid. With her commitment came a ray of hope. Upon the recommendation of doctors, Williams was able to solicit help from members of the Staff Rehabilitation Equipment Professionals group, a leading supplier of wheelchairs in the Washington, DC area. The group donated a loaner custom made orthopedic bike, allowing Dequan to recreationally pedal freely with his friends, strengthen his gait as an alternative means to daily physical therapy, and most impressively enter into this year’s Special Olympics of Maryland, an organization that focuses on year-round sports training and athletic competition for persons with intellectual disabilities.
Dequan’s strength, determination and perseverance for living out his dream of being active in a sports arena, specifically his role in the Special Olympics of Maryland, has earned him a spot on the mantle as this month’s Junior Hottywood Artist!
Albeit what sounds like a sad story has blossomed into quite the opposite on paper, the scrolls haven’t quite fully unfolded. Knowing that the bike provided by the Staff Rehabilitation Equipment Professionals is on loan, Dequan’s family now finds itself in the middle of a tumultuous battle with an insurance agency to provide financial support of a new custom bike – one that is paid for by the family rather than borrowed from a third party source. Despite the medical experts’ documented acumen for the need for paralytic mobility, the insurance company has denied Williams’ claims multifariously on the speculated grounds that the coverage is for mere convenience rather than ennobling need.
Not accepting “No” as an option, the arbitrate mother has since spearheaded community fundraising projects to help raise money to purchase the new bike, sans the support of the refusing insurance company. On Sunday, April 29th she hosted a bake sale in the Clinton, Maryland community and plans to host another one in this coming month. It is because of her industrious effort as a concerned and supportive parent that she is acknowledged as this month’s second Junior Hottywood Artist honoree.
Kats and Kittens, please join me in a round of applause for the first time ever Mother/Son Junior Hottywood Artists, Dequan Kamari Wooten and Kristen Williams!