Teen with bone disorder begs a chance for a normal life
Seventeen-year-old Tehanna Williams dreams of someday becoming a teacher and a successful businesswoman.
Born with a skeletal disorder called rickets, the resident of Race Track in Denbigh, Clarendon, is hoping to have corrective surgery on her legs to set her on the path to this dream.
Tehanna, who endured ridicule while attending primary school and through most of her high school years, was emotional as her she listened to her mother, Lison Johnson, relating several failed attempts to get assistance for her to attend clinic for a year of pretreatment before they can even begin to think about corrective surgery.
Faced with a $16,200 monthly medication bill, Johnson said that she tried to get assistance from a service club and through state initiatives such as the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education.
When all doors were shut in her face, the forlorn teen went into depression.
“I gave up on my daughter and gave up trying to find a way to secure the money for the treatment,” Johnson admitted to The Gleaner as tears streamed down Tehanna’s face.
Johnson said that her efforts were reignited when her daughter entered a pageant at the Foga Road High School, which she attends.
“I pick up back with Tehanna when she actually entered a mini miss pageant at her school and I realised she was fighting. That motivated me and I start to go back to the clinic,” added her mom.
Speaking between tears, the grade 11 student said that sometimes it is emotionally taxing to go to school and she ends up returning home in tears after being teased.
Entering the pageant after being encouraged to do so by a physical education teacher was a turning point, she told The Gleaner.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength,” she said the teacher asked her to repeat, referencing Philippians 4:13. The educator then suggested that she enter the contest.
“I entered the pageant and that’s when I gained friends and that’s when people started talking to me more,” Tehanna said.
Johnson disclosed that doctors have estimated that the series of surgeries needed as well as the pins and other related expenses would cost roughly $3 million.
The treatment will be done in phases with the first corrective surgery on one foot scheduled at a cost of over $200,000.
It has been challenging trying to save towards the surgery, however, as the day-to-day expenses make it an impossible task. Tehanna, who is not able to walk long distances, has to take a chartered taxi to school.
Johnson said that she has been trying hard to come up with the funds to get the process going. On Wednesday, she will host a cake sale at Sam’s Car Wash in her community.
How you can help
If you can assist Tehanna Williams, contact her mom, Lison Johnson, at 876-236-9308.