It was the Christmas Gift of a lifetime for Lenroy “Lumma” Hazelwood as the forty seven year old double amputee was outfitted with prosthetic legs during the festive season.
The procedure, which took place at the New England Orthotic and Prosthetic Systems Inc in Connecticut USA, saw the Antiguan becoming the first national to benefit from this initiative by Ministry of Health and the Environment.
Moments before the annual year end press conference for Government Ministers got underway at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, Hazelwood was the centre of attention as media personnel, well wishers and even Members of Parliament shook hands, took photographs and posed questions to the local celebrity.
When asked about his feelings for the new found joy, Hazelwood noted that it was the best gift he has ever received during this time of the year.
“Everything happened through Minister Molwyn Joseph and I feel like a new born baby, I feel good, it is the best Christmas I ever had since the day I was born”, Hazelwood disclosed.
Hazelwood, who is originally from Seatons Village but now resides in Old Road, describes his one week trip to the USA as uplifting and life changing, adding that it only took him one day to master the art of walking on his new limbs.
In an earlier interview on ABS Television Program-Against the Back Drop with Amar Spencer, the father of one said that he now has his sights set on participating in future Paralympics.
He is advising his fellow amputees to hold the fort, keep the faith, stay strong, resolute and determine because God is in the midst of everything.
“Trust God, and hope and pray that things work out and just believe because God told us that he will make the lame to walk again and the blind to see and I feel proud to be one of those lames who is walking again so without God nothing at all can happen”, he continued.
Health and the Environment Minister, Molwyn Joseph who facilitated the venture described the first day he met Hazelwood, saying that the double amputee turned out to be way much more than meets the eye.
“I realize that he was a highly motivated individual, and in discussing his condition, he indicated that he was a mason and was interested in getting a job. So I made a few calls and got him a job during the rehabilitation of the headquarters at the bottom of high street and he turned out to be one of the best masons working on that project”, Minister Joseph said.
But the Health and the Environment Minister said he decided to go a step further, and during a one on one conversation with Hazelwood, Joseph decided that it was time to get him up and walking tall again.
“And I went further, I had a discussion with him and I asked him if he would be willing to consider getting Prosthesis and he was excited about the idea so I made some necessary contacts and arraignments. We paid for his airfare and accommodation and the institution provided the service free of cost and so now he is very pleased and he feels like a new vista has opened up for him and this is the kind of intervention that I advocate for health in Antigua and Barbuda”, Joseph said.
The St Mary’s North Member of Parliament said that the best is still to come as plans are in the pipeline for another Antiguan to benefit from a similar procedure.
“And by pure coincidence, about four days ago I was driving down Sir Vivian Richards Street and I saw another gentleman, a double amputee going into a vehicle and so I stopped and asked him if he knows Lenroy Hazelwood and he said yes, he is my brother and so I asked him if he knows that he is away getting Prosthesis and he said yes so I invited him to my office today (Wed). So we are going to initiate all the necessary contacts again to see how we can get his brother the very same service”, Minister Joseph continued.
The veteran politician continued by saying that it shows the commitment of the Gaston Browne Administration to provide the best for the people of the twin island state.
“What this shows is the commitment of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Government. We believe that healthcare in Antigua and Barbuda should be accessible and it should be easily accessible for all and now that we have a working relationship with an institution in the United States we are going to try and develop that relationship to see if we can extend it as full service for the Mount St John Medical Centre”, the Government Official noted.
In closing Minister Joseph said that the Government will continue to build capacity and do whatever is necessary to ensure the happiness of the Antiguan people.