(JAMAICA GLEANER) – HANNAHLISA HALL is just eight years old but she is a battle-hardened soldier who has survived three strokes.
The child and her mother, Claudette Grant, visited the Combined Disabilities Association office on Ripon Road in Kingston yesterday to collect one of 200 care packages of food and toiletries handed to members of the disabled community.
Grant said that Hannahlisa, who has full-blown Hb SS sickle-cell disease, sustained a double stroke, in the first instance, on October 31, 2017. Prior to that ordeal, Hannahlisa was frequently in and out of hospital, sometimes even two or three times per month.
“Today she come out and maybe next week she is back in hospital,” Grant said.
Hannahlisa was summoned, when she was 11 months old, by the Sickle Cell Unit to undergo a blood test. After she was delivered, doctors had taken note of a trace of sickle cell.
In October 2017, the family, which includes Hall’s two older siblings, was at home in Seaview Gardens, when the child began moving one of her hands strangely. Jolted into action, her mother immediately took her to the health centre in the community, where she was advised to take Hall to the Bustamante Hospital for Children for further checks.
“The doctor there asked me if she could be tricking us. The doctor sent her home, saying he didn’t think there was anything wrong. He gave me Panadol and fever medicine,” Grant said.
Two weeks later, Hannahlisa was running a high fever and was readmitted to Bustamante. A CT scan confirmed she had suffered two strokes.
A few months later, she sustained another.
“Every two weeks I have to buy the medication, both liquid and pills, which costs $3,000. I was working at Juici (Patties) downtown, and because of the virus, everything slow down, so I am not working right now. I am a single parent of three, so I really need some help,” Grant said.
The condition has affected Hannahlisa so badly, she cannot use her right hand to write and her memory is not sharp.
“She has forgotten a lot of things in her schoolwork. She is in grade two now. The grade one stuff has left her brain,” Grant said.
“Sometimes when we try to help her, she is not remembering anything. It is kinda really painful for me at times.”
Appealing to the public for assistance, Grant said that her daughter requires therapy to have a chance of functioning normally again.
She fears that Hannahlisa has been emotionally affected by the trauma.
“Sometimes she would tear up and throw away things. She would see you put down something and she tear it up. She never used to be like that,” she said.
Grant also rues the effects of the strokes on the eight-year-old’s physical appearance.
“If you see pictures of her before she had the strokes and to see her now, it’s painful.
“ … I would love to see her come back.”