CAMOTES ISLANDS, Cebu — Normally, one would get a sense of pity seeing a handicapped island boy from a poor family and has little hope of walking. But not with Dexter Diocampo.
Whenever he helps out with chores in their humble seaside home, Dexter seems to forget he was born with muscular dystrophy. He would crawl out to the beach to gather seashells for his siblings to eat, or for her mother Concepcion to sell to the neighbors. On other days, he would gather firewood near their house—also crawling, and scratching his already calloused knees.
“He has initiative to help us, his parents,” Concepcion proudly shared, but with a hint of worrying in her voice. “He even joins his father whenever he goes out to fish in the sea,” the mother said, recounting his son’s immense joy when he caught two fish on his own.
Little Hero on Crutches
At a tender age of six, Dexter already knows his disability is never a liability. He feels uncomfortable whenever people look down on his thin, frail frame. So last year, he fashioned two long branches as his crutches, and started walking. It’s an awkward walk, with his knees turned inward, and looks as if he will stumble. But to Dexter, every step is liberating.
“He may look like that, but he’s an active child,” his mother said. “He really wants to walk.”
His perseverance is also seen at school, where he loves trying to write out his name and words he learned. “He’s very teachable,” said Concepcion, “and he even helps his younger brother learn how to write, too.”
On schooldays, Concepcion hoists her son up on her arms and walks for an hour to reach the daycare center in Barangay Puertobello, Tudela town. Dexter, aware of his mother’s tireless effort, could only wish he can walk straight soon without his crutches, and no longer be a burden.
A miracle may not be the quick answer to his wish, but Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines (OB) was willing to help this little hero in any way they can.
Dexter on Wheels
During a rainy medical mission in Puertobello, Dexter and his mom were gladly assisted by OB volunteer doctors. Upon checking on the boy’s condition, the OB team advised the mother and son to visit the next medical mission site, where a special gift awaits the boy the following day.
The next morning was a big moment for Dexter. His mother brought him and his younger brother to the OB site at the next barangay. The brothers saw OB volunteers assembling a wheelchair—for Dexter! This special wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission, an international partner NGO of Operation Blessing, is lightweight yet sturdy—perfect for Dexter’s house along the shore and Camotes’ uneven terrain.
When the boy finally sat on his new wheelchair, there was apprehension on his face. It wasn’t the same as the freedom of barely walking with his improvised crutches.
As his mother profusely thanked the people from Operation Blessing, his younger brother eagerly pushed the wheelchair and took his kuya for his first ride. Dexter began to smile. Wheels for feet weren’t so bad at all.
HELP US BRING GIFTS OF MOBILITY!
By partnering with Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, you help us distribute wheelchairs units from Free Wheelchair Mission to provinces around the country. Call (02) 477-7802 today to partner with us!
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