Wisdom was born sometime in mid January 2008, although his exact birth date is unknown as is his birth weight and height. His widow’s peak and high hairline, so characteristic of Ghanaians, points you towards eyes full of life and vigor. These eyes were not present six months ago when Wisdom was first brought to the HardtHaven Children’s Home. At that time, this young boy was suffering from Kwashiorkor, a condition caused by lack of protein and general malnutrition. Among a host of other symptoms with Kwashiorkor, his hair was thin and discolored, the skin patchy and ulcerated, a normally mild temperament was one of irritability, and development was all but nonexistent.
Of particular interest in the case of Wisdom, is that his mother was HIV positive. HIV causes a suppression of the immune system, and when you add on the stunting of physical and mental growth from Kwashiokor, a youngster like Wisdom is living moment-to-moment, which is a very dangerous game of Risk. Sonjelle, the director of HardtHaven, told us that his health was so bad, that she was not sure that Wisdom was going to last through that first night.
I first met Wisdom in Mid May of 2009, and at that time it appeared to me that I was looking at a child 5-6 months of age. When I was told he was 15 months, I was shocked. His weight, his demeanor and development were all dramatically reduced. Instead of walking or crawling, Wisdom pulled himself across the floor with his hands while his legs dragged behind, not unlike a gorilla. Mind you Wisdom was otherwise healthy at this point; he was sleeping inside a malaria net every night, getting love and affection, and for prevention of HIV (via mother to child transmission) modern Antiretroviral treatment was being administered. The only thing that was lacking was a willingness on his part to eat solid food. This would be a major problem for him soon, developmentally and immunologically, because if he could not ramp up his caloric and protein levels his body could not continue to fight a good fight against Kwashiorkor.
In a previous post this past June, I mentioned how the J2S team spent a weekend adjusting the children at the orphanage, and in that post I mentioned briefly how moved we all were personally by the bonds, love and solidarity that existed on site; the way the children so lovingly invited us into their lives. In the face of so much adversity, it was one of the happiest places I have had the pleasure to be a part of.
When a chiropractic exam was performed on Wisdom, we noted two areas of particular interest: one in the upper neck/cervical region and one in the pelvic region. The lower region was adjusted using a technique that specifically targets the ileocecal value and often stimulates defecation/eating or vice versa when the symptoms are reversed.
The next morning, back at home in Accra (3 hours south of the orphanage), when I woke up to instant coffee (a Ghanaian staple) and fruit, I also had a phone call from Sonjelle. Not only did Sonjelle want to thank Dr. Hunter and me for our time, she wanted to share with me the nearly instant changes that Wisdom was exhibiting. His actions seemed much more intent, focused if you will. Perhaps the biggest miracle of all is that he was taking solid food. For the first time in his young life, plantains, rice and wakye (a rice-like local starch) was being ingested like it was his last meal.
Two month later, when Sonjelle and I were speaking about his changes, she told me how he was now pooping 4-5 times a day and eating more than any of the other children. He was now speaking small words and thankfully no longer pulling himself around; with help from some of the older children he was walking. This little guy wasn’t exactly a beefcake yet, but there was little doubt he was becoming a more “normal” baby. In 6 weeks’ time, his weight went from 16 pounds to nearly 20 pounds. Dramatic when you consider that in the previous 14 weeks he had only managed to put on 2 pounds.
I am not suggesting that chiropractic is the only factor that is affecting his improved health; however, I do believe that a nervous system, once free of interference, is better able to fight disease and infection and thus properly develop. Chiropractic is a gift that millions of people around the world have utilized in their own healthy lives, and to support this, evidence exists both anecdotal, as in the case of Wisdom, and in research literature. What we wish to accomplish is to bridge the gap between those who can and cannot afford care, so that thousands of adults and children like Wisdom, both HIV positive and HIV free, can live a life of optimal potential.
The Journey to Solidarity team wishes to bring this miracle to the world, but we need your help today. We are aware that it is summer time and funds are tight, but our funds are also extremely limited. We are hoping to send a Chiropractor to Ghana in Fall/September to work directly with a) HardtHaven Children’s Home and b) thousands of people living rurally in village around the country. With both demographics we are implementing wellness, education, and HIV prevention programs to supplement the health care, thus enabling people to take direct control of their lives. Please donate today and feel free to email or call anyone on the team with any questions. Your support is vital to the cause and bringing healthcare to the world.
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