Cripples brother and sister
Sashane Shakes – Staff Reporter
Sherriann and Courtney Irving wanted to pursue careers in hospitality and engineering respectively, but their aspirations were decimated by a sudden and cruel, yet unknown, illness, rendering them both cripples.
Sitting on a bench beside her house, crouched over her walker, her brother sitting on the chair nearby, the two (2) residents of the small community of Repasture, located in Salt Spring, St. James spoke to the Western Mirror on Friday (January 11).
Of the 2, Courtney, 24, was first to be struck by the illness when 5 years ago, he woke up and was unable to move his limbs freely. But for Sherriann, 25, the first instance she experienced difficulties moving about was after giving birth in 2016. She admitted that at the time of Courtney’s illness, she was living in Mt. Salem, but moved to Salt Spring to see through to the end of her pregnancy. It was shortly after moving here and after giving birth that she began suffering from the condition. “I don’t know what caused it. I just woke up one day and couldn’t move as I used to. It’s the same thing that happened to Courtney,” she said.
Subsequent to this, Sherriann admits that it has been a largely downhill battle with mixed reactions from family and relatives. “Me remember one morning me aunty wake me up and say ‘Sherriann, me go take you out a di house cause you a cause problem, yuh go get pregnant,’” she lamented. Sherriann gave birth to a baby boy who now lives with his grandfather because she is unable to care for him in her current condition.
ABANDONED BY FATHER
To add insult to injury, she was left homeless, living on the streets for a while, until community members became aware of her situation and offered assistance. To rub salt into the wound, her father, who the siblings harbour severe distaste for, wept when they recalled that he, presumably overwhelmed, disassociated himself from his children and like a thief in the night, took everything and left. According to the siblings and their neighbours, the elder Irving lifted the house from its foundation and relocated, abandoning his children, leaving them literally homeless. “That man, him just tek up the house and leave we. Him take the house and everything in it.”
With no roof over their heads, they called Food For the Poor unendingly, who were quick in response, providing them with a lovely flat which they both share.
Courtney, a God-fearing individual, has vowed to remain positive about their situation. A Sabbath keeper, he attends the Salt Spring Seventh Day Adventist Church where he has been baptised for 5 years now. With unwavering faith, he prays often and believes that the Lord answered their prayers when they were gifted the house and there will be many more blessings to follow. “I just keep praying and hold the faith. We try to do as much as we can but the Lord will provide,” said the humbled Courtney.
MP PROVIDES WALKERS
In addition to the house, Member of Parliament for St. James Central, Heroy Clarke, recently provided them with walkers to assist with ease of moving around the house and a donor who wishes to remain unknown, on Friday provided them with a washer and dryer to help with chores.
“They were really in dire need of assistance. We came with 2 walkers, one for the male and one for the female. When we came with the walker, our hearts broke,” said Clarke.
The siblings couldn’t help but mention their neighbour Ann-Marie ‘Chin’ Douglas, who has taken on a maternal role in their lives. “Dem don’t get no care. Dem puppa run lef dem. Dem no care dem. A the community care them. Neighbour; this neighbour here who can give them a plate of food, a pound of rice, a pound a sugar,” said Chin.
Their aunt Sharon Hilton, who also lives in the community, assists by washing for them, providing them with food and caring in any other way.
Whilst grateful for the help, Sherriann is insistent on finding out the problem with hopes of recovering from same. The Maldon High alum revealed that she did a scan just shy of 2 years now, the results of which she did not collect due to not being able to move about or having anyone to pick them up for her at the time. She soon forgot about same as survival became top priority given that some family members had abandoned her and her brother. But she’s ready to pick up where she left off by finding out the problem that has been plaguing them for years.
After listening to their cry for help, Clarke spoke with Dr. Delroy Fray, from Living Waters Medical Centre, who has made arrangements to visit the siblings today to investigate further into this medical mystery.
Chin is pleading for assistance for her neighbours, she now sees as her own children. “They can’t help themself. Anyone a dem drop you haffi pass fi tek them up. Dem cannot tek up demself.”
The siblings, who were recently in a video, now viral on social media, have landed an international reach with persons as far as England reaching out to assist. “We’re appealing to the public to make a donation because they too have to live and they’re unable to work. No amount of appeal can be enough,” implored Clarke.