Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dayshawn's Wheelchair

Sometimes you have an experience here that you just KNOW is the Holy Spirit. I have told most of my family about this story - but since this has finally come full circle, let me share this with you too.

When we were signing children up for CCD last year one man signed up his son, Dayshawn, age 10. We'd never seen any boy named Dayshawn at church so we asked about him and was told he'd just had surgery and was at home. So we called the family, introduced ourselves and set up a time to meet them. When we did, we found Loretta at home with a severely handicapped Dayshawn. Dayshawn suffers from Cerebral Palsey and in addition to being severely physically handicapped he cannot speak. His diet is primarily farina cereal and Ensure, the dietary supplement, which he drinks from a bottle.

Now back at St. Tim's in Norwood I served as Chaplain to "Faith and Light" a group of mentally challenged people that have been meeting at St. Tim's for over 20 years now. My experience with these loving people seemed to prepare me for Dayshawn. At that first meeting I was able to hold him in my lap for about an hour as we visited with Loretta and heard her story and Dayshawn's. Loretta is Anglican, her husband Catholic.
Leonard, or Porky as he is more well known, came to church and the Sisters who preceeded us here began to drop in and visit Loretta and Dayshawn. She said, "it was the Catholics that helped us Faddah, they came and visited". And now here we are, unknowingly continuing where the Sisters left off. Usually Dayshawn spends the day in a recliner, they have no wheelchair, there is no visiting nurse, there is no physical therapy, all we have here is a clinic. It was clear during our visit that Dayshawn is much loved. His parents provide all they can and he is an important part of their family.
Here is a pic of Dayshawn and his mother in their kitchen.

Weeks later, on a weekend we had a visiting priest, I was purifying the chalice after Mass at our church in Cargill Creek. As I wiped the inside of the chalice I happened to notice, on the bottom of the chalice, an engraving. It said 'Order of Alhambra - Caravan No. 82 - Montreal - In Memory of James Murphy Sept 21, 1952' and there was an emblem - a red tower.

Now, I never heard of Alhambra before - and Lord knows how a chalice like this found its way from Montrel to Cargill Creek Andros. Later that afternoon I went online and discovered that Alhambra is a fraternal order of Catholic men with a ministry of serving the needs of disabled children. (Isn't God amazing!)
So I send an email to the contact person, telling them of the chalice I'd found. I told them that if the Murphy family was still around, they might enjoy knowing this chalice is still in service and that it had found its way to this mission church in Cargill Creek, Andros. A few weeks go by and I get a reply from Roger Reid, an officer of Alhambra who was very interested in the chalice and referred me to the Alhabra 'scribe', Andre Beauchamp in Canada expressing great interest in the chalice and promising to research the chalice, etc. So I reply to him, this time mentioning that I had noticed they have a ministry to disabled children and describing Dayshawn. This led to a series of emails, over a period of months, until he suggested that Alhambra might be able to provide a wheelchair!
By this time I had told Loretta about Alhambra but she wasn't too excited about the wheelchair. They had had other wheelchairs and they never worked. Dayshawn has no upper body control and he would always slump forward in them. He needed a wheelchair that could recline, one that was adjustable, and might be able to grow with him over the years.
Well, my lovely wife is a visiting nurse. Now it was her turn to jump on the internet and search for chairs that would work - naturally she found one, but it was over $2,000 - then on another site one for half that, with a contact at a Nassau distributor. After several phone calls she came up with a solution for under $900.
So I send this information along to my friend in Canada and I get a reply that Alhambra is having a convention in Detroit and he'll bring Dayshawn's case up at the meeting. Needless to say, Porky and Loretta are thrilled that this has gotten this far and we were on pins and needles waiting to hear what would happen at the convention.
Well - the email arrived - the money was approved and a check was in the mail! I called Loretta immediately and later that day ran into Porky at the local market and told him. Weeks later the check arrived on Andros, we deposited the money, called the Nassau distributor, and sent them the formal order with the payment. Now it was just a matter of time.
One of the mail boats that comes to Andros is the 'Lady Katrina' and Loretta works as the shipping agent for the Katrina. We told the shipping company to use that boat to get the wheelchair to Andros and arrive it did!
Loretta took it home that day, Porky put it together and now Loretta doesn't have to carry him wherever they go. Dayshawn can be taken outside and sit in the gazebo his father built on the front of their house and watch his Dad play dominoes. Loretta can actually take Dayshawn for a walk. Moving from one room of the house to another no longer requires Loretta pick him up and carry him.
What strikes me about this story is how the Holy Spirit works.
What ever prompted me to turn the chalice upside down and look at the bottom?
What ever prompted Porky to register Dayshawn for CCD?
How did that chalice migrate to Cargill Creek?
Imagine this from a chalice from 1952! God set this up 57 years ago!
Imagine the 'coincidence' of Alhambra, of all the charities it might support, have a ministry to disabled children - and Andre Beauchamp taking the ball and running with it, presenting Dayshawn's situation to Alhambra in Detroit - and them approving the purchase.
God is indeed a loving Father, and we are His childen. We thank Alhambra, we thank Roger Reid and Andre Beauchamp - and most importantly - we thank the Holy Spirit who was totally involved in this, not only from the beginning of our meeting Dayshawn, but 57 years ago when the Murphy family first commissioned this chalice. Glory to God in the Highest - Amen!
Here are pics of Dayshawn in his new wheelchair - and another of his mother, father and I posing with Dayshawn.


Lana said...

What a wonderful gift to that family. And Frank- you're beard! Oh my gosh, a red suit and you _would_ be Santa :)

Will Cubbedge said...

As a member of the Order of Alhambra, I am blessed by this story. God shows forth His power and glory in the least, the smallest, the most inconsequential. God bless you, Deacon.