Before I tell you about this week’s "everyday heroes" I want to tell you about the "Invisible People". Invisible people are people you see everyday but never know their names. They are the boys that help you back out of that parking place or who guard your motorcycle while you shop. They are people you meet everyday but would not know them if they sat next to you in church. Invisible people have no future. They will never go to school or break the chains of poverty. As sad and bleak as their lives are, there is a group even more hopeless, the "forgotten People". They are the children crippled by disease or accident. Beautiful children, brilliant minds, loving hearts trapped in crippled bodies. They are often totally dependent on others and have no chance, no hope of escape. Unable to walk, they can not play or go anywhere. Their own brothers and sisters are afraid to play with them. Sometimes their own mothers will not hug them for fear of hurting them. Without schooling they can not read. Often they are poor and have no TV or radio. Their life consists of laying in bed and watching others live, while they merely exist.
This week’s everyday heroes are trying to help these "forgotten people". The Great Physician Rehabilitation Foundation (GPRehab) is a group of dedicated professional Pinoy and Norwegian volunteers. They are providing physical therapy to improve the children’s health and strength. This not only gives them some mobility but also builds their self confidence. They also give special occupational therapy training that helps the children improve their behavioral and cognitive skills. This additional special training helps them improve their learning abilities and prepare for school. Adult wheelchairs are not suitable for children so the GPRehab builds child size wheelchairs. Many of their wheelchairs and other assistive devices are built by their own students. They also educate the families on how to live, work and play with their challenged children. They help prepare over 23 challenged children attending school. Many of the special children now have a chance for a life and possibly even a career.
America had a President who led us in war while confined to a wheelchair. Maybe one of these children will one day find a cure for cancer or even lead this great nation. If that happens the Philippines will have to thank everyday heroes like Director Analou Suan, and her volunteer therapists, teachers and support staff.
I was impressed by this generous and dedicated band of professionals. I asked them how could I help. Did they need more volunteers? No, they have plenty of volunteers. Many of those volunteers were so dedicated they have to be reminded to go home and take care of their own families. I asked if they needed money. Everyone needs money. They said what they "needed" was for me to help them change the heart of the public. To let the public know that while these children are crippled they have beautiful hearts and minds just like normal children. They just need a chance at life. Most important they need our love and understanding. Be an Everyday Hero and hug a child in a wheelchair.