A home in time for Christmas
Family of child with cerebral palsy gets new house after fire tragedy
Orion Hanson lays in bed. The frail 12-year-old boy, who appears to be no older than six years old, is living with cerebral palsy. His head falls off the pillow but he is unable to raise himself back up. He is unable to lift himself from the spot where he spends most of his days.
Forced to be in bed almost all the time, Orion experiences stiffness in his joints and is unable to move on his own. Though he is unable to chew, move, talk, walk or open his fingers, his smile reveals a happy child who is surrounded by love.
Affectionately called ‘Boo’ by his six siblings, he depends on his primary caregiver, his mother, Trisha-Anne Bennett, and he is happy when his sisters and brothers assist in caring for him.
Though Orion could not speak about that devastating day when the three-room wooden structure they called home went up in flames, his mother recounts rushing into the engulfed structure to save him. He was laying on the bed gasping for air. She then returned to the inferno to retrieve her children’s birth certificates and other important documents.
A few months after the horrific tragedy, Food For The Poor, moved by love, shared the family’s misfortune with BOOM Energy Drink who made the decision to provide a new home for them.
Keteisha McHugh, brand manager for BOOM asserts that, “BOOM is a Jamaican-produced and -owned brand and is determined to give back to our local communities and support those who are uplifting the vulnerable. We are living in unprecedented times. Times like these remind us of values needed to help others to persevere, such as empathy and compassion.”
Nestled in the hills of Holt, Santa Cruz, Orion’s new home was gifted to him and his family in time for Christmas. The family now enjoys a contemporary designed two-bedroom house equipped with a solar panel that powers small electronics and light bulbs inside the home, as well as a water tank for water harvesting, and indoor kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Trisha-Anne, a praying woman, is thankful for the kindness that has been shown towards her family. As the full-time caregiver for a disabled child who needs constant care, she is unable to seek full-time employment.
She explains that, “As a single mom, taking care of a child with a disability is very stressful. I have to push myself because I love him. At times, he will cry and we don’t know what is wrong with him but we have to be by his side all the time to feed him and to change him so he doesn’t have bedsores.”
The fire is not the first tragedy to strike the family. In 2016, Trisha-Anne’s partner and the father of six of her children was shot dead on his way home from work. This loss has put a strain on not only her family, but their finances since he was the sole breadwinner in the household.
“Ryan Hanson, the father of my children, was killed on April 12, 2016. I was left to fend on my own with my children. If it was not for good family and friends, I would have been left to suffer.”
Despite being dealt an unpleasant hand, Trisha-Anne ensures that her children are all given the best care that she can offer. She is celebrating the achievements of her two daughters who were successful in the recent Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate, attaining five and seven subjects each.
Even though caring for Orion is a challenging task, Trisha-Anne finds joy in each moment she spends with him. She believes it is her duty to care for him, and she shares that it is her love for her children that keeps her going on the most difficult days.
She says she is forever grateful to BOOM and Food For The Poor who saw to it that she and her children received a home in time for Christmas.