Feisty Liam in need of a new wheelcair

Liam, Kyle, Edwina, William and Isabella January at their home in Retreat.

With a determined spirit and an adorable smile, an 8-year old from Retreat has crept into the hearts of many.

Liam January has a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone syndrome.

OI is a rare disorder that affects the makeup of the body’s connective tissue, resulting in fragile bones that can become deformed and break easily.

Liam is a Grade 1 pupil at Vista Nova School in Rondebosch, a special public school for children with learning barriers.

Like all boys his age, he loves to chat, play Xbox, watch cartoons and hang out with his siblings and friends.

Although he has a small stature – because he hasn’t grown physically very much since birth – he doesn’t shy away from play fights with his little brother Kyle, 2.

Liam has many bony deformities in his arms, legs and his spine, which make it difficult for him to do various activities. He has been using a wheelchair to push himself around but as his life and school demands are growing, he is unable to keep up with his peers physically.

He therefore needs a motorised wheelchair to help him and give him a bit more independence.

The wheelchair will also help his bones from curling, bending, fracturing and deforming any more.

The wheelchair costs more than R42 000 and Liam’s parents, William and Edwina January, are unable to afford it on their own. Ms Williams said Liam’s condition came as a shock when he was born.

“The doctors didn’t pick anything up during the pregnancy. I was devastated and blamed myself because I thought maybe I didn’t take enough vitamins or calcium but it was explained to me that it’s a hereditary disorder or DNA mutation,” she said.

“He is very independent, determined and very fiesty. He is a blessing and although things get a bit difficult sometimes, we are blessed,” said Ms January.

Mr January said he is pleased with his son’s progress.

“I am very proud of my boy for having such a great spirit considering his condition.

“We are a family of converted Christians, we know that God knows best and always has our best interests at heart, so we love him unconditionally. Although we were shocked with his diagnosis because we never heard of OI before, we love him.”

Mr January said throughout all the tough times, Liam continues to be strong, independent, stubborn, demanding at times, and even unreasonable in his requests to be independent.

“The fact that he is very small and not able to walk has not deterred him at all from being as normal as any other 8-year-old boy,” said Mr Williams.

Liam said: “I am excited to get a motorised wheelchair because I’ll be able to ride myself around because sometimes my arms get tired,” he said.

“The motorised wheelchair will improve his quality of life and would take a load off us as a family and as he grows up he will become more independent,” said Ms Williams. If you can help Liam, call Edwina January on 081 267 6418 or email edwina.january@amcsa.co.za