“I found both mental and physical support”

Nineteen-year-old Casimir was walking on one of the many steep mountain paths near his home in Cavaillon, Haiti when a dizzying bout of vertigo caused him to fall onto sharp rocks from a great height. He was paralyzed instantly. After receiving surgery in Port-au-Prince, his doctors referred him to our spinal cord injury rehabilitation program. Below is his story, in his own words.

The doctor who operated on me referred me to SBH for the rehabilitation program.

When I first arrived, I couldn’t move any part of my body at all. Now I can cross my arms, eat, brush my teeth, shake hands, and lift heavy objects. I use a telephone even better than before I fell, and work on my phone [doing graphic design] on Adobe. As for my legs, I am starting to improve. Some of my toes move, and I can wriggle my feet.

A Haitian man lies on a physical therapy table. He has his hands over his head and holds a long bar between them. A male Haitian physical therapist stands behind the table helping him with the exercise.

Photo © Nadia Todres

Casimir works with the SCI staff every day to regain his mobility.

A Haitian man sits in a wheelchair. He wears a yellow tank top and blue shorts. He holds a wrist weight in his cupped hands. A Haitian nurse sits next to him, she is wearing blue scrubs and is adjusting one of the wrist weights. They smile and laugh to each other.

Photo © Nadia Todres

Casimir and nurse Niorlyne share a laugh during a physical therapy session.

During the month of December I participated in an event [for International Day of Persons with Disabilities]. I talked about my own evolution: how I was and what efforts I made during my time at the SCI Center. 

I chose to speak about my evolution to encourage patients who have just started the program to have hope that it can work for them the way it has for me. I wasn’t in good shape at all but now I am much, much better. I learned more from the SCI Center – learned how to live in community, learned how to support each other. 

My message for everyone who is quadriplegic, like I am: I encourage all of you to come to the SCI Center at SBH because I found all of the support I needed; whether it was mental or physical, I found it all, and I received it free of charge. I say a huge thanks to everyone who supports the program, especially the SCI Center employees.