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Despite All Odds, Paralized Twins from Cayo persevere Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:00


While Jalen can move on his ‘Power Chair’ almost independently; do chores about the house and even cook, his brother Jaren has his special needs. His mom Guadalupe Pacheco, 43, has to get up early, five days a week to prepare Jaren for his full day of school, which is located several miles away from home.

The laptap-totting, Jaren will not be stopped from attending school, despite his severe handicap for his cognitive functions are fully functional. Indeed Jaren passed with eighty four percent the last mid-semester and even bested his brother by one point. While his mother has to sometimes push him across hilly terrain on a failed ‘power chair’ that mechanics have tried to fix since last year, good Samaritans always abound-giving that extra push needed to reach school.

Jaren, meanwhile, can be seen in the mornings zipping across the Hawkesworth Bridge on his scooter, carrying a broad and confident smile. His scooter is fully operational. It is one of two power chairs that his mom bought several years ago for a thousand dollars.

Both inseparable fifteen- year-old youths are now school mates in 1C at St. Ignatius. They stuck together throughout the six years at Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio, a school located near to their home in the upper hills of San Ignacio Town. During those six years, the situation with mobility was even much different. To get to Sacred Heart, they had to be pushed on improvised devices.

Their grandmother had unfailingly taken care of both boys until they were a healthy six pounds. That in itself was quite an achievement considering that Jaren was only one pound, and Jalen, two pounds at birth.

While growing up, muscular therapy was prescribed for both boys in both Mexico and Guatemala. But they have never been able to walk and continue to be fully dependent on their wheelchairs.
It is not fully known what is responsible for the twin’s paralysis. Born premature at seven months in 1997, a scan taken at birth had shown that there were liquids in both their heads. Doctors had wanted to delay their birth even further, because the lungs had not fully developed. So, injections were prescribed for the mother to delay birth.

Mother, Guadalupe Pacheco is insistent that she wants to send her two boys to school at all costs, even though she has treaded alone as a single parent thus far.

“I am trying to go as far as I could, trying to let them learn something for later”, says Guadalupe Pacheco, who has gone through her own set of trials.

Guadalupe Pacheco is thankful for the one hundred and fourteen dollars that she receives from the Government of Belize every month. An additional one hundred and fifty dollars comes in monthly from a house that she rents.

Home room teacher, Nancy Waight has started her lobbing efforts for the twins. She is trying to get them both a lap top so that they can take notes while the lessons go on at the Roman Catholic’s Institution.

Saint Ignatius High School has done its part in reaching out to the teenagers. According to Principal Julio Tzib, the school now has a youth friendly centre where Internet-ready computers are available. While the school does not yet have ramps, much has been done to allow for the twins to learn all they can.