Thursday, September 25, 2014

Crippled at 4, 10-year-old lass strives to be a teacher

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 22 (PNA) -- Born a normal and healthy baby, 10-year-old Anna Mae Laguerta used to be a very jolly and active child until high fever hit her when she was four years old.

She stayed at the hospital for two weeks until the doctor diagnosed her as afflicted with anterior horn disorder or the weakness of either upper or lower motor neuron.

Her lower motor was affected, which caused her to be crippled.

Like any other countryside lasses who look up to their teachers as role models, Anna Mae wants also to be a molder of the next generation.

“I want to be a teacher when I grow up. But how can I? I am crippled,” Anna Mae blurted out with sadness in the local dialect.

She is the second child among the three children of Arlene, a housekeeper, and Dionisio, a driver.

The Laguertas live in Barangay Masinas, Sorsogon City.

With a sole bread earner in the family, life was tough that providing the needs of the family was not easy.

With her condition, Ana Mae became a loner and did not even want to go out and play with her peers.

Her parents and grandmother, however, have not stopped encouraging her to go out.

The Laguerta couple has not lost hope that their daughter will be able to recover from her sickness…that she will be able to walk.

Despite the family’s financial difficulty, Anna Mae’s parents submitted her for physical therapy, which lasted for a year -- but to no avail.

At the age of six, Anna Mae started to go to school.

The changes in the new environment needed a big adjustment on the child.

The family was able to provide her with a wheelchair which had made the family find ease in the child’s mobility.

“Just for Anna to be in school, we had to carry her,” recalled Dionisia.

With her wheelchair, the family members had to take turn in assisting the child in going to school.

In 2013, the Columbian Government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Protective Services Bureau, donated a Personal Energy Transport (PET), an assistive device which has provided Anna Mae mobility.

Now in Grade II, she can go to school alone using her bare hands as if she is riding on her own bicycle with her PET.

Anna Mae has suddenly changed her mood as she is now active and with happy disposition.

Her classmates also share Anna Mae’s happiness.

She now regularly goes to school driving her PET device from her residence to the Abuyog Elementary School, which is 200 meters away from their home.

According to her teachers, Anna Mae has a good scholastic record and is always on top of her class.

“I will do good in my studies so that I will be able to reach my dream… to be a teacher,” the determined young girl said with a smile. (PNA)