In early February, the children of the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled were blessed with an outpouring of loving care and generosity from a team of volunteer professionals from West Palm Beach, Florida. The team. comprised of two paediatric physiotherapists, Mary Pengalley of Progressive Pediatric Therapy and Cynthia Kuntze of School District of Palm Beach County, who were instrumental in assessing all of the children for positional equipment to ensure that they were in good alignment and pain free. Justin Kuntze, an orthotist and prosthetist from Falk Prosthetics & Orthotics, adjusted and provided leg and foot braces for all the children, measured for body braces and even casted a small boy for a false leg so that one day he can walk. Carey Britton, of National Seating & Mobility Services, a wheelchair and seating specialist, adjusted all the wheelchairs to fit each individual child. This was their second visit to assess all 22 children at the BAPD, ensuring they received the much-needed care and equipment that suited their needs.
Additionally to the free services provided, the team along with their community volunteers provided many essential equipment for physiotherapy from power chairs, shoes and braces, wheelchair trays and bath chairs and much more. Children who would never have the opportunity to walk were given hope and parents were filled with gratitude as their child’s life at home would even become easier.
Hannah Foster-Middleton, CEO of Genesis Physiotherapy and physiotherapist of BAPD, said: “I was happy to see them in such comfort. It was heartwarming.”
Charlotte Albury, president of BAPD, said the organisation was so grateful for the visit from Mary Pengelley and her team.
In two days, they assisted 17 children with wheelchairs, Rifton chairs, sleep systems, vests and orthotics. To see the children being made more comfortable and being relieved of some of their discomfort was priceless. There were smiles all around by both children and parents but without the wonderful donors that have supported BAPD this would have not been possible as we were not able to purchase the much-needed equipment. It takes a village is such a true saying and BAPD is very fortunate to have an amazing group in their village. Linda Smith, facility manager, also expressed her thankfulness, firstly to Hannah Foster-Middleton of Genesis Physiotherapy, for making the search for a team of specialists to assist these children and to Mary and the rest of the team for responding to the call. She stated that when each child was outfitted in their new equipment it made such a difference.
“We saw children who would normally be irritated after a short while due to discomfort in their chairs becoming relaxed and happy. This is truly an amazing experience for both us and the Progressive Therapy team. As we say, ‘team work makes the dream work’. I am just elated,” she said.
BAPD is a daycare facility for 22 children diagnosed mostly with spina bifida and cerebral palsy from age five to 19. Many of the children at BAPD are from vulnerable households. As a non-profit that depends on donations, it has been an ongoing challenge to consistently find the necessary funding to meet the daily needs that arise from equipment, specialist doctors, caregivers, teaching, supplies and daily meals.
The mission of BAPD is to be actively multi-functional, and as a non-profit offer all services free of charge. BAPD provides an environment dedicated to promoting self-esteem and improving social skills with the goal of functionally independent living being attained wherever possible.
Those interested in supporting BAPD can donate online at www. bapd242.com.